Barriers to transition–an internal perspective

The most difficult career transition is when things are going well; there are no problems; we’re not unhappy.  The hardest transition is about going from okay to better; from good to great, great to outstanding.  

In contrast to an externally-induced transition, this type of career transition is one that is self-imposed and comes from within.  A threat of job loss, for example, is external.  Leaving a poor supervisor or being drawn to a new area of work or career are external motivators for transition.  Even a life crisis is an external motivator.  A change in our life (getting old, children leaving home, separation) is an external force that beckons internal change.  External motivators are often negative too.  In these cases we are going from bad to good, not good to great.  

External motivators are outside forces that move us off of center and force an internal reaction.  Internal motivators are more difficult to overcome because we have to knock ourselves off of center and react to it.  Moving from bad to good is usually easier than good to great.

Assuming we can get ourselves to the point of wanting to make our good situation even better, here are several barriers to start acting on that internal signal:

1) Identification of what I want to do

2) Identification of the area in which I want to do it  

3) Loyalty to our current supervisor

4) Loyalty to the team

With external and negative situations, these are either not barriers in the first place (no loyalty to a miserable supervisor) or we find a solution (I’ll take anything but this). 

These barriers seem to be more prominent when choosing to move from a good situation to an even better situation.  The solution to these barriers will depend upon the specifics of your work situation.  However if you are truly in a good working situation, its likely because you have the kind of supervisor who cares about you as an individual.  With that situation, the solution is pretty simple–a good conversation with your supervisor will get the ball rolling.  

A supervisor’s role is to help their people which in turn helps the organization.  Not being in their position, we might not see the value of having such an attitude, but it is a value that successful managers like yours have developed.  

I will talk about these barriers in turn during the next couple of installments of the blog.

Jonathan Shaver