It was a year ago that I did just that. I decided it was time to make a major life change professionally and personally. Since then, many people have wanted to learn how I did it. In fact, I spoke just this week with a former mentee about her next professional move.
My advice was basic. Look at your last few professional moves. Why did you want to stay somewhere and why were you willing to leave? What were you looking for in the next opportunity? And what isn’t there today that you’d look for in the next opportunity?
I told her if she looks carefully at this, she’ll see a theme as to what makes her happy and what frustrates her. Then there will be more questions:
- What kind of work do you want to do?
- What kind of team do you want to be part of?
- What mission will keep you committed and passionate?
But I told her not to get caught in the “grass is greener” trap. Because it’s not. Every organization has its crazy. You just need to figure out what that is and how to work effectively within it.
We spend more hours every week at work than we spend in quality time with our loved ones. It’s a reality. Make sure it’s an organization that you can commit to, that you are doing work you are passionate about, and that you have shared values with your colleagues.
It’s easier for me at this point in my career to act on the desire for more balance in my life. I’m not climbing the career ladder anymore nor trying to raise a family. Taking control a year ago meant I left the permanent work world as a full-time health care CIO and started down a path of consulting, interim management and coaching. My goal was more flexibility and working less than full-time. And I wanted to live near my family instead of halfway across the country.
It’s been a year with plenty of work and living in another city while I did interim work. But I’ve had much more family time. My grandkids really know me now and I’m seeing the little 6-month-old grandbaby grow and change week to week. I’m no longer the nana inside the phone doing Facetime on the weekends thousands of miles away.
The Christmas gift that will mean the most all year long is the custom wall calendar my daughter made. On the cover is a picture of my husband and me from our recent vacation trip to Cuba. The title says “Schade Family’s Big Rocks!” Each month is a collection of family pictures. January starts with my youngest daughter’s wedding in 2010 and December ends with a picture of me reading a bedtime story to my 4 grandkids. I loved unwrapping this gift on Christmas and then again looking at it month by month a few days later. And now it hangs in the kitchen to remind me every day of wonderful memories. Just like in that TV commercial ad, I say “Priceless”.
Do you need to take control of your life in some way? Do you need to make some major changes in 2017? Knowing your passion and who or what are your “big rocks” is a good start.