Portrait of smiling African businessman collaborating with colleague planning career transition placing sticky notes on glass wall, copy space

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How to follow your Career Transition Roadmap

In this article, How to follow your career transition roadmap, we will cover

The best roadmap for your Career Transition (in 2022) is like a GPS

Every jobseeker has a career transition roadmap they can follow. You have one too. It is like an internal GPS navigator, guiding you to the career you are meant for. What I call your Career Destiny.

Unfortunately, not everyone follows their career roadmap GPS!

So after years at the wrong job, they end up in the same place where they started, needing to transition again.

If you have the need to transition to a new job, or want to make a midlife career change at 40 or 50, you want to get it right this time. 

As a Career Transition Coach, I can tell you a career switch should be approached carefully. You have to map out a smart career roadmap and keep a strong mindset to navigate through to it.

Start with a big picture approach to your career roadmap

A good way to understand how to set up a career roadmap in 2022 is to use an example from GPS navigation apps for inspiration.

What are now known as GPS Navigation apps such as WAZE or MapQuest are based on digitizing what used to be hard copy paper roadmaps. 

The same GPS roadmap navigation concept can apply to your career transition. 

Of course, the GPS automatically plots these steps digitally for you, but for this job transitioning example, visualize yourself plotting out the steps yourself, using a paper map.

As you would with a paper roadmap, a GPS uses three steps to get you to your destination: 

  1. You must first locate where you are now on the map, what city and street
  2. Then you need to locate your destination city, then street, then street number
  3. Then you need to figure out the path how will you get there, what highways, roads and streets 

You may have a few other considerations:

  • Do you have enough gas to make it there or would you need to refuel? Where is a gas station, is it on the way?
  • Is there construction or delays on part of your route that you want to avoid?
  • Do you have enough time to get there before the doors close?

How to follow your career roadmap using a three-step GPS process

Step One: Locate where you are now

First, like a GPS would, you want to determine where you are now, your starting point 

  • What position are you at now or recently 
  • What job or career experience, qualifications and skills do you have?
  • How did you get to where you are now? Might you have limiting beliefs that are holding you back?

Step Two: Locate your destination

Next, you want to figure out where do you want to land?

  • What kind of work, pay, lifestyle do you want to have?
  • What needs aren’t being met at the current or previous gig you want to transition out of?
  • What like minded people do you want to work with and have as clients or customers?

Step Three: Plot out how you will get to your destination

The third step of your GPS roadmap requires that you plot out the steps of how you will get to your destination:

  • What sequence of events need to take place for you to land in the right gig this time?
  • What qualifications, experience, education, people, opportunities, luck or skills do you already have in place?
  • What qualifications, experience, education, people, opportunities, luck or skills do need to acquire?

Other considerations:

    • Do you have enough funds to carry you through the transition?
    • Are you nimble enough to avoid delays and bottlenecks? 
      • How can you avoid getting more education?
      • Should you go for an opportunity that has lower pay to start but higher pay over time?
      • Should you start your own business to gain long term control? 
    • Do you have enough time and other resources to make it all happen or do you need to scramble and take the first thing to come along?

If you think these three steps through even on a high level, this simple roadmap model can give your transition a lot more clarity and a lot more sanity.

You can’t leave something as important as navigating your career transition to chance

Assessing your career roadmap destination isn’t always a clear path. However, because job transitioning is one of the most difficult things you will ever do, you can’t leave it to chance.

The wrong choices can land you back in the same old situation, or extend your transition from months into years. The right choices can guide you to your destiny.

Sadly, advice on the topic of how to navigate a transition to a new career is very random and arbitrary, even from authoritative sources! 

Beware of unproven slapdash theories like these while you are in a vulnerable stage of passage and evolution like you are now. 

For example:

  • Harvard Business Review thinks one way to career transition is being disruptive – which is not the best advice at this point! You need a level-headed methodical approach to an effort this important, not a ‘lets try anything from left field’ attitude
  • Psychology Today recommends to consider your possibilities after the long covid drought, however, I believe vagueness is your enemy when you are in a period of uncertainty and career succession
  • BalanceCareers.com offers a What Color is your Parachute style advice, with a little bit of everything approach to career change – but be careful, tons of tips like this can confuse you when making a career switch; what you need now is a clear,  stable approach

Assessing your mindset as you pursue your career path roadmap

If you are searching for career transition ideas, you will find many career transition coaches talk about the mechanics of changing jobs.

They may focus on job search tactics, interview preparation to explain your change, updating your resume, education paths, etc. 

This is putting the cart before the horse. The GPS roadmap says job search is step three of your roadmap. You can’t skip step one (locate where you are now) and and step two (locate your destination.)

Of course, you want the job search portion of the transition to be underway as quick as possible, you have bills to pay, however you don’t want to miss the chance to do phase one and two right this time.

That’s why I think the most overlooked phase of transitioning to a new career is the career planning aspect. 

You can’t ignore what you are feeling, yet you can’t act out of desperation. You can’t be reactive. You have to keep your powder dry and be patient.

  • Are you wounded and need to recover or are you ready for a new direction? 
  • Are you 100% ready to make a move and just take the first job that is available?
  • Do you dislike your job but are interviewing for the same kind of job at another company?

These step one “where you are now” roadmap questions and how you are feeling need to be addressed on some kind of a mental and spiritual level. Otherwise you just end up in the wrong gig again. Let’s address them now.

The 3 mental aspects of your career transition

To make a successful transition, there are 3 mental and spiritual aspects to consider:

  • You have to make peace with your past job choice so you can move on without baggage
  • This allows you to openly embrace the present to make the clearest career choices
  • Which clears the way to move on to your bright career destiny

Making peace with your past choices

Yes, making peace with your past choices is easier said than done. But we are not talking about a psych evaluation here, all we are talking about is simple acceptance about how you ended up where you are now. It’s about being kind and forgiving to yourself so you can move on.

Openly embracing the present

Once you have accepted where you are at without anger or blame, successful career transition requires you to embrace the present.

This means gaining a clear grasp about what you are meant to be and being true to your capabilities. Your past career roles do not have to limit your options as to what your next roles can be.

Move on to your bright future

You naturally have uncertainty and trepidation about where you are, but once you make peace with it and embrace the present, you can look at the world in a peaceful way. Then you can maneuver yourself into a bright future – your Career Destiny.

girl with flower comtempating

Your transitional career roadmap may require a career role transformation

To summarize, the whole point of the transition roadmap concept is, you can’t just wing it with a gut feeling, or you can get lost on your journey. You must plot a roadmap to define the career role you can thrive in.

Like a GPS you need to identify your career destination, and plot out the steps to navigate to it.

The beauty of this roadmap concept is once you are clear about your destination and are really, deeply mentally ready for it to happen, it can happen very quickly!

Did you enjoy this career transition roadmap approach concept? To discover how you can make it happen for you, try my one week home study course. It will identify your career destination and how to navigate to it quickly.

Larry Lafata

 Larry LaFata is founder of defineyourcareer.com, a site dedicated to help you discover your Career Destiny, regardless of your background, education or experience. His innovative courses include Define Your Career Destiny one week home study course and a two-hour Career Destiny Workshop for Friends.

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Larry LaFata, Career Discovery Coach "Coaching Makes Champions"