I’ve worked with many people who have undergone unplanned career change, i.e. not because they chose it.  This could be because of re-structuring, lay-offs, or change of role.   When this happens it can have a devastating effect one one’s self-esteem, working relationships and finances.  You can feel helpless in this situation but you are not. This article gives you 3 practical steps to take back control. This will enable you to see the change as a new chapter in your life. You can still transition well even if it was not your choice.

1. Take time to grieve

Initial emotions are often high with an unplanned career change, even if you didn’t like the job.  This stage is not the best time to make decisions.

Give yourself time to grieve the loss – be angry, upset etc.  Ask a friend or loved one to be an accountability partner and set a time for yourself – that is the date you will decide to look forward not backward and so stop rehearsing in your mind, or, with others what happened.  Your accountability partner is there to remind you and challenge you when you slip back into the past rather than looking to the future.


2. Remember you have a future

As a senior leader it’s easy to forget that you are not your job!  Don’t let your job define you.  If you are seeking to be an authentic leader you must be authentic in all areas of life.  This comes naturally if you know who you are.  Your gifts/talents, purpose and values.   With an unplanned career change be intentional about doing a personal inventory in these areas.  Remember what you are good at, what you like doing, what you value. Consider what types of people/groups you like working with.  Lastly, ask yourself  ‘what is my vision for my life’.  Having a sense of purpose or destiny is critical.

It can be useful to work with a coach to help you with this personal inventory.

Help you see the whole you, not just the job.  Give yourself time in this stage. I know you have to ‘eat’ but taking the time will help you avoid taking short-term or unfulfilling roles out of fear.   One way you can give yourself time and take the pressure off is to do interim, work.  Sign up with an Agency that does interim management or tap your networks to see if there are any short-term projects or consulting work you could do. If you are in a job then do what is required in the job while you work through things.


3. Develop a plan

So you’ve done your personal inventory and formed a vision for where you want to be and/or identified an overall life purpose.  The next step is to develop a plan, a road map.  This will give you the ‘how’ to implement that vision, or

walk out that purpose.

Not everything needs to be done at once. Phase your plan and be practical.  Remember, time, talents,energy, and resources need to be in place for any plan to be successful. Remember:

Start where you are, use what you have, do what you can

Arthur Ashe

If you are going through a career transition , whether planned or unplanned, we wish you the best for the future.  If you would like support head over to felicialinch.com and look at my coaching packages.

Here’s to you transitioning well,