Military to MBA Career – Take One Transition At A Time

Piling Multiple Transitions on Each Other Seems Reasonable, But Doesn’t Work.

Career transitions start out simple enough, but life quickly complicates matters. And, soon enough, your career transition is no longer just about starting or changing careers. As human beings who seek growth and performance, we are notorious for combining and co-mingling. Other types of transition (i.e., social, family, location, etc.) get layered on career and it becomes something entirely different.

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All too often, the internal dialogue of someone changing jobs or pivoting into a new career is, “All transition is better than some.” Or, they believe, “I am going through some, why not all, of my transitions at once.”

I have observed countless numbers and types of applicants try this method of transition before and have seen many well-intentioned people make the same mistake. I know it seems reasonable, but I’m here to tell you it just doesn’t work out the way you plan.

We are wired to think 1 + 1 = 2, right?. We also believe we can double down, or combine transitions, and maybe even get a 2-for-1 deal. Sounds great, but a closer version of reality here is 0.5 + 0.5 = 1. However, because we perform both types of transitions half or part way the outcome is more likely to be even less than 1.

When we combine and co-mingle, collateral damage occurs. It takes more time to fully transition and doing things part way means we make concessions, average down or concede to less than desirable outcomes.

A better approach is to allow one type of transition to lead the other. For this to happen, you not only have to change your thinking but also the order. The first step in any successful career transition should be to map out your career goal before you start to search for a job. These steps frequently get reversed and 80% or more of the time the order of execution is wrong.

For the 10-20% who correctly order the first step of the process it becomes a game-winning decision. During your career goal you look at motivations, priorities and values. Such as, “Do I want purpose in my job? Do I want more responsibilities? Am I looking for a promotion and/or more compensation? Do I want to consider quality and attempt to balance work-life or will I sacrifice life now to establish my career, get ahead and make more money later on?”

During the process you are also able to focus on the specific type of transition that is most important to you. Which sets up the decision to have one type of transition lead and the others to follow in more of a natural order. It gets you back to what we call a 1-for-1 return.

So, give yourself an enormous advantage by focusing on one transition at a time. Don’t combine them, don’t co-mingle them and don’t layer them on each other. Take them one at a time, stagger them and then transition in natural phases. This will allow you to get a 1-or-1 return and that is what career transition is all about.

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