Life is a Series of Transitions-So too is Your Career

I sit here today contemplating another transition in our lives.  My younger son will marry just 9 days from today and this will culminate a summer where both of our sons have made wise decisions to marry wonderful young women who will be their spouse and partner for the rest of their lives.  While considering this transition it occurred to me that my life is really a series of transitions.  I will cover a few of them in the course of this post this morning, but this theme of transition also represents our careers too.  One of the greatest challenges, even traps, that many fall in to is to worry more about their career than their life.  Your life is much more than your career and I have empathy, even pity for you, if you don’t feel that way.  I have seen far too many in my work with those in transition who had the painful realization when they found that their life had been pushed behind their career.  More on that at a later time.

There is a scripture verse that exemplifies this thinking well, Ecclesiastes 3, verses 1-8.  I am sharing this below:

A Time for Everything

3 There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:

2 a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
3 a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
6 a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
7 a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
8 a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.

(courtesy of Bible Gateway)

When I think about my life I would consider the following to be key transitions I have encountered:

  • Leaving home to attend college
  • Marrying my wife
  • The birth of each of my two sons
  • My battle with cancer at age 30
  • The death of my father and mother
  • The death of my brother
  • Each of our sons leaving home to attend college
  • The marriage of each of our sons

I am sure each of you have similar transition times that you have encountered in your life and you will have more if you continue to live for any period of time.  There are some key issues that need to be considered each time a transition occurs.  Let me  describe these issues and how you might approach each of them when the transition appears or starts to occur:

  • What is the nature of the transition?
  • When will the transition begin?  When will it be complete, if ever?
  • How will my role change?  Will it be markedly different after the transition and will this change be quick or will it be iterative?
  • What costs will I encounter during this transition?  (much more than dollars and cents)
  • How should I prepare for this transition?
  • Do I support this transition?  If so, how might I aid the process?  If not, why not, and should I oppose the transition? (if possible or practical)
  • Who can I call upon to help me with this transition?

As you can see, there are many things to consider when transition appears and not keeping each of these in mind can cause the effects of the transition to be longer lasting than you might normally encounter.

My encouragement to you today is to reflect upon the key items that occur in a transition and answer each of the questions honestly.  By doing so you can gain some valuable insight into how this transition will affect you, both positively and negatively.

These transition questions also bleed over into work life.  More on that when I write again next week.