Your Career Transition Toolkit

Career transitions are an opportunity for transformational growth, but adding a career transition on top of the usual demands of our lives – especially in such a complex world as we have today – can be daunting. Having a mental model of the process of transformation can help you navigate transitions with more awareness and intention.

William Bridges describes the landscape of career transition as being comprised of endings, a neutral zone, and new beginnings. As you enter any landscape of transition, the process of letting go and taking on new roles, capabilities, and identities may stir up a mix of feelings, including excitement, fear, hope, and overwhelm. Staying balanced and grounded in this space requires a proactive approach to managing your time, mindset, and energy.

Job Search Accountability Groups can be a valuable resource for those navigating a career change, and offering support for navigating change, ideating your next step, and networking your way to a new opportunity.

In a session I led last week, this question was posed by an alum: “What is one tool that you wish you had implemented sooner?”  The responses shared were vulnerable and real and speak to the value of leaning into personal connections and the career community when you are making transitions, for both practical and emotional support.

  • Connect with a Coach
  • Work out every day
  • Do things other than the job search
  • Talk to other people in transition
  • Take care of yourself
  • Engage your network
  • Incorporate mindfulness and meditation
  • Manage emotions
  • Use digital tools
  • Return to the fundamentals from the Executive Career Journey Module 1: there is a sense of grounding that comes from clarifying and returning to your values
  • Volunteer
  • Therapy
  • Join communities: occupational, spiritual, and other
  • Lean on supportive friendships
  • Create relationship boundaries: especially with those close to you who have an idea, expectation, or underlying fear about how this process is going or should go
  • Be kind and gentle with yourself
  • Learn from mistakes and let it all go…
  • Be forgiving and move forward – put this transition in the context of the bigger picture
  • Foster a growth mindset

If you are beginning a career transition now, take a moment to reflect on an important question:

What is in your job search toolkit to support you as you discover, explore, and move through this in-between time of your career transition?

Here are two valuable toolkit additions to consider:

  1. MIT Sloan Alumni Job Search Accountability Team: Accountability teams help as you move through your career transition by providing you with support, thought partners, and motivation. To join an MIT Sloan Alumni Job Search Accountability Team, click here.
  2. MIT Executive Education Courses: Explore MIT Executive Education course Navigating Transitions during Disruptive Change led by Hal Gregersen.  Alumni receive a 20% discount.

In his book Life is in the Transitions, Bruce Feiler notes that transitions are so common in today’s world we spend half our lives navigating unsettled times or pivotal states, and the better prepared we are to manage these situations, the more likely we will emerge stronger.

By MIT Sloan CDO