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Keep your zing

19 August 2020

The lag time between when you outgrow a role and move to a new one can be tricky to navigate.

It is natural to outgrow a role.  The skills we use in a role should naturally develop beyond the challenge and scope the role can provide.  This often signals the time to move onto something more challenging, or a role that utilises different elements of your skills.

This in-between time though, can be frustrating and sap motivation.  It is a tricky time to keep yourself positive in the job.  If this ends up being an extended period it can have a negative impact on your career.  To keep the zing during this time here are a few hacks to keep you feeling engaged and positive. 

The first is storytelling.  We all tell ourselves a story about our lives and how we became the person we are today.  This is the narrative of our lives and it is something we construct.  The trick in the in-between time is to ensure the story you tell yourself is a positive one i.e. of redemption, growth, and love.  For example, hear the difference between these two stories, both of which could be told in the in-between time.

  • This job sucks and no one around here recognises what else I can do.
  • I’ve taken all I can from this job and it has given me skills I now bounce forward with.

Choose to tell a story about the role you have outgrown that is a positive and helpful one.

A second hack involves moments.  The in-between time is a nice period in which you can step back from the hustle of working in your career and notice the more transcendent moments around you – the nice interaction between two colleagues, the joy of a co-worker as they talk about their weekend, the nifty design of some new technology, the magnificent mountain views out your office window, the brisk air on your lunchtime walk…  In the in-between time it is easy to become over focused on the future.  Noticing these moments helps balance your presence.

Community is another in-between time hack.  During the in-between time it can be natural that you pull back from the community of the role you have been in.  Until you find a new community in a new role you can feel a little rudderless.  So, take time to ramp up the degree to which you are connected to other communities around you.  Search out the communities you have a sense of belonging to – family, friends, hobbies, clubs, services…

Consciously navigating your in-between time helps to stay productive and motivated.  It means you end well.  People really will miss you when you are gone and they will speak highly of the contribution you made.

Note: The tips above are for when people are still in their old role.  Sometimes, the in-between time is forced upon people and instead of being a transition from one role to the next there is a period of under or unemployment.  This can be a bit more pressurised.   If you find yourself in these circumstances the above hacks will still be useful, but also ensure you put other resilience supports in place.

As always, wishing you a flourishing career.


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