Personal reflection on an atypical approach to Career Transition
Personally, I have seen a lot of tools on how to plan a career transition. Many articles speak of working with in-house employer resources or finding a mentor to plan further personal and career development. Depending on where you are in your career and what your momentary professional needs are, sometimes this works, sometimes it doesn’t. However, my particular situation led me to focus more on how I could remove myself from the day-to-day of business and concentrate my thoughts on what I wanted to achieve in the next phase of my career. Hopefully, I’m not alone in my initial feeling that I didn’t have a clear transition path for my evolution in my professional life. I wasn’t sure how I, taking a non-corporate route, could guide myself to the next level in my job.
I started in a situation where I had been with my company for over five years. I was an ambitious, conscientious employee and had received good high performer ratings and assessments of my work performance. Yet I wasn’t really sure how to advance in my career. Internally, we had a lot of restructuring over the past 18 months, so I just couldn’t find a logical next step for my personal advancement in that particular environment. Given this situation, I decided that what I needed most was clarity. I needed to step outside the professional structures that I had been a part of for so many years and clear my head.
That’s when I got the idea to use my paid leave to take time away from my company and travel to Asia. I needed a different sort of energy and motivation, and I needed to find different sources of inspiration. So having made up my mind to embark on this journey, I started to prepare for my leave well in advance. I took one year to set up my "sabbatical". I had 60 days of leave accrued and I planned to use it to make myself a happier person and, in turn, a better colleague and business professional. I spent these 2 months between Bali, Thailand and Malaysia practicing yoga, trying different meditation technics, working with Tai Chi Masters, putting my body going through 8 days of fasting and meeting teachers from different disciplines. I was learning; I was practicing; I was reflecting.
Contrary to what you might expect, I didn’t return from my stay in Asia in a full state of professional nirvana: I didn’t even have any career epiphanies while I was away. However, I did find the calm and clarity I was seeking AND I became more patient with my expectations and more aware of what my career transition should be. Just as an aside: I gained so much physical and mental energy from my travels, I almost became too overwhelmingly positive for my colleagues. Upon my return, the most common words I would hear in my office were “Calm down: you have too much energy.”
Going back to the ideas of patience and transition, I realized that not finding an immediate, logical "next step" in my search for career opportunities was not a bad thing. Failure to discover immediately a new job or position was not tantamount to stagnation. Instead, I knew I could evolve and develop more by focusing on my own personal development. I could look for new ways to make myself a better, more inspiring, more efficient person: a better manager and business colleague. Now I knew how.
One of my main realizations was that you can both look for and wait for new professional opportunities at the same time. Additionally, I discovered that transition is also an internal (spiritual) as well as external (material) process. I no longer experience the frustration I felt before. I don’t want to pursue change for change’s sake. I know that I need to do something meaningful in the next phase of my career, and I’ve begun to make assessments of my professional not wants alongside my wants.
Essentially, I’ve found confidence in waiting. I now know that waiting does not equal resignation or being passive. It is about having trust and enough internal resources to be able to recognize the right opportunity at the right time. I’ve also discovered that spiritual development of corporate and organizational talent is just as important as any other soft skills training employees might receive. This is something I find to be highly undervalued in most corporate environments. You can find some good examples at Google or Inner Experiment at Genentech (https://vimeo.com/21063653); however, these tend to be exceptions, rather than the industry rule. Personal qualities such as mindfulness and activities such as meditation and developing concentration or the ability to cope with stress can offer just as much value as, if not more than, courses in "how to make the right sales pitch". The most interesting thing is that this value can be quantified: analyses done by Genentech have shown it.
I think the most important lesson I’ve learned is that stepping out of your situation (letting it go) helps to get more clarity. I met a lot of inspirational people who helped and taught me in many different ways: mindfulness teachers, monks, detox & fasting experts, yogis and other travellers. All the knowledge they shared with me helped me shape my transition, create my own toolbox and design my ideal job. I also clearly identified my strengths and got a lot of positive feedback from people on my ability to drive them through change and help them gain focus and clarity. When I came back, I wanted to start sharing my findings with others: people who probably don’t have the possibility to be away from their jobs for 2 months.
Supported by my previous coaching education and 10+ years of experience in corporate environments , I am currently involved in a couple of volunteer projects that look to help business professionals use mindfulness activities and meditation techniques in the workplace. I also took up 1-2-1 coaching again. Today, my aspiration would be to run and develop a program similar to the one led by Inner Experiment: not just an afternoon workshop but a lasting program that allows these tools and ways of thinking to become part of a company’s/team’s DNA. I would like to take my turn sharing what I have learned, and I humbly hope that it may help people to become less stressed and more focused. Ultimately, I hope it will help companies create better work environments and become more successful as businesses and more attractive as employers.
The SpenglerFox Group is delighted to announce the appointment of Filip Lerno as Non-Executive Chairman, effective 1st February 2020. Filip brings over 20 years of experience within the Premier Search sector. He has worked as a Senior Executive at both Spencer Stuart and Heidrick & Struggles, specializing in the Private Equity and Industrial Practices where he successfully conducted a multitude of senior searches across EMEA. Born in Ghent, Belgium, Filip graduated in Law, Applied Economics as well as Port and Maritime Sciences from Ghent University. He studied for his post graduate MBA at the Vlerick School of Management. He is also an Alumni of Insead I.E.P. Program. As Chairman of the SpenglerFox Group Board Filip will work closely with the CEO and the SpenglerFox Group Management Team to support the future strategic direction of the business as the Group grows both organically and through well placed acquisitions. Jens Friedrich, CEO at the SpenglerFox Group said “I am delighted to welcome Filip Lerno onto the Board of the SpenglerFox Group. His experience in the world of Senior Search and Human Capital Solutions will act as an added impetus to our overall business offering to our Clients around the globe. He has a proven track record in connecting the best senior talents with the world's top companies and I am convinced he will be equally successful in helping us at SpenglerFox to implement our strategy and further grow our business. SpenglerFox is a global Executive Search and Human Capital Solutions consultancy with a coverage in 35 countries.
We are delighted to announce the appointment of Marta Skalska, Head of Research. It is with great pleasure that I announce our latest addition to the SpengerFox Group, Marta Skalska, who will assume the role of Head of Research. Marta will be based in Warsaw, one of our firms strategic hub locations and will be responsible for developing cutting edge and best practice research capabilities within the SpenglerFox Group. She will lead the initiative to ensure consistency in approach and systems usage across the group as we invest in best practice and research trainings, assuring delivery of best in class services. She will work closely with our Senior Management team to advise on recruitment strategy, sourcing tools and continuous improvement initiatives. Marta has over 14 years of experience in recruitment, specialized in automotive, industrial manufacturing, aerospace and defence, oil&gas and temporary assignments, gained from recruitmentcompanies in Poland and the UnitedKingdom. Started her career in temporary recruitment, then moved to sales and business development functions, working as 360 consultant, selling and working as an Account Manager on own projects, large accounts, also leading a team of recruiters. After returning from the UK to Poland she has worked for management consulting company within HR sector, supporting big outplacement project for steelwork factory and state-owned coal minery in Poland. Worked on HR strategy, trainings and workshops, organisational transformation, talent management, market mappings, job evaluation, assessment and development centres, audits, HR functions effectiveness, labour issues, took part in negotiations with trade unions. Last, almost 4,5 years she has spent working at Korn Ferry, where she was supporting executive searches across EMEA (mainly in Scandinavia, Benelux, Switzerland and Balkans) withinindustrialmanufacturing,aerospace, defence and automotivesectors. She has studied Law at Warsaw University. Marta speaks native Polish and fluent English. She livesby the motto ‚Do not overanalyze, lifeis simple.’
The Governance Revolution: What Every Board Member Needs to Know, Now! SpenglerFox CEO, Jens Friedrich, invites Deborah Hicks Midanek to discuss her recently published book 'The Governance Revolution: What Every Board Member Needs to Know, Now!' Deborah is a veteran independent director, a pioneer in the corporate restructuring industry, and a serial entrepreneur. Widely respected for her turnaround skills, she has diagnosed and remedied problems for over 60 corporations and facilitated the growth of nearly 30 other ventures, including her own. Described by the late Fletcher Byrom, CEO of a Fortune 25 company, as a “pure thinker” – quickly gaining a deep understanding of complex problems and demonstrating an extraordinary ability to assimilate information and craft resilient solutions. More_on_Deborah_Hcks_Midnek.pdf Size: 161 KB Deborah_Hicks_Midanek_Slide Deck.pdf Size: 920 KB