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Weekly Doses of Pop-up Psych

We all make cringey mistakes and deserve to move on, rather than feel confused or regretful after an icky social situation. Each week, I will dissect a murky social, life cycle, or pop culture topic to help you understand, learn, and move on. As a former academic, I am a super-picky consumer of research (and you should be too) as well as the content I create and share, so those new solutions, data and/or additional resources have certainly met my approval.

Signs You're Ready for a Career Transition: Questions and Reflections for Clarity

Once upon a time, I was a jail counselor. The jail was my undergraduate internship, which hired me six weeks after college graduation, so it felt like a dream job; especially since the job market was terrible that year. I thought I wanted to be a therapist, so I was taking my gap years between undergrad and graduate school to get solid working experiences. I hit the jackpot, because they’re not many more "real world" experiences in life than working in a jail. A few years in, I got very burnt out, but didn’t realize it.  Burnout wasn’t a “thing” in 1993, but I had all the classic symptoms:  dragging through tasks that used to energize me, feeling either apathetic or overly frustrated, as well as punchy and unproductive. It was beyond needing a vacation; I needed a career change. Below is a snap from a day in my life in jail.


In a study conducted last year, 52% of respondents were thinking about a career change and 44% were actually planning for it. The pandemic alone inspired a great deal of transitions. The Baby Boomer (1946-1965) generation was the last to have the same job, career path, content interest, or niche throughout their whole career.  Gen X (1966-1981) broke the Boomer pattern of retiring from their first job, by making drastic and big changes throughout their careers. Millennials (1982-2000) have been more fluid about their career decisions, when compared to the Boomers who were typically more fixed, and Gen Z seems to be following suit.

How does your inner voice tell you it’s time for a career transition?


Career decisions should not be made impulsively. Usually it takes time off and away to realize that a major change is needed. During that time away from work, ideally a vacation as opposed to just some time off, with boundaries drawn from the noise and clutter, is a good time to clear your head and dig deep. 


When meditating on a career transition, pay attention to the epiphanies.


During this time, pay attention to other potential opportunities. Obscure thoughts will start from your gut, meaning, ideas that you have never considered might creep into your head. When I was in a corporate human resource role and feeling very burnt out, I had a crazy idea about quitting my job, moving home, and finishing my master’s degree full time. It seemed so silly at first and then when I really thought it through and figured out the logistics, I realized it wasn’t so crazy after all and went for it.


What type of epiphanies have you had lately?


When meditating on a career transition, figure out what brings joy to your current situation.


Loving what we do is important. Marie Kando, organizational expert, encourages us to go through our physical belongings to evaluate the extent to which items bring us joy when deciding whether or not to keep them.  The same principle can be applied to your career tasks. 


  • Which aspects of your career bring you joy?

  • Which aspects of your career no longer bring you joy?


When meditating on a career transition, identify what you will miss about your current situation.


Aspects of our career steal our heart.  Whether it’s a love for a population, the job itself, the compensation, or certain events associated with it, we are there for a reason. However, life is about evolving and becoming exposed to new opportunities, so it’s natural to outgrow a career chapter. I knew I was ready to move on from being a college professor when I felt a sense of freedom during back-to-school time instead of like an athlete that was benched during maternity leave. 


  • What exactly will I miss about my current career situation?

  • How will I feel when major events occur and I’m not a part of them?


When meditating on a career transition, think about how you can stay connected to your current community. 


It's amazing when colleagues become friends. Although you may not work together or share a mutual project, you will always be connected through your experiences. Social media makes it easy to keep up with people’s lives and news. Hopefully, you can take it beyond that with IRL (in real life) visits and meet-ups, as well as virtual chats.


How can I stay connected in my community?


When meditating on a career transition, figure out the logistics.


This is the yucky part of the change. It might take awhile, but sorting out details as to how the change impacts finances, family, lifestyle, etc. is necessary. Share your ideas with your loved ones, consult experts (career counselors, recruiters, educators, accountants), brainstorm, and do your homework to create a timeline and prepare for your next move.


Which logistics need to be considered for the change?

Hi, Beautiful Readers! Thank you for reading this! I'm Dr. Joanne Broder, Media Psychologist, Author, and Fellow of the American Psychological Association. Please consider me to help you write your memoir, blogs, speeches, e-books, as well as coach you on your dissertation or thesis.  Click here so we can connect!

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