Have you ever watched the show Suits?
Surely, you heard mention of this USA Network series in the midst of the Royal Wedding this past May. Infamous royal Meghan Markle played the role of Rachel Zane in this drama about a New York-based corporate law firm.
The two main characters are Harvey—a hotshot, unbeatable, arrogant attorney—and Mike—a young, naive fraud with a photographic memory. From the very beginning, we watch Harvey mentor Mike on becoming a great lawyer.
In one of the most memorable scenes, the following dialogue takes place:
Harvey: What are your choices when someone puts a gun to your head?
Mike: What are you talking about? You do what they say or they shoot you.
Harvey: WRONG. You take the gun, or you pull out a bigger one. Or, you call their bluff. Or, you do any one of a hundred and forty six other things.
When Mike feels trapped in later episodes, he replays this conversation in his head and then creatively finds a solution to his predicaments.
THE 146 OTHER SOLUTIONS TO CAREER CHANGE
This back-and-forth conversation feels wildly similar to many of my coaching calls. Often, a high achieving professional schedules a call and shares the limited alternatives they perceive are available to them.
Most recently, this happened on a coaching call with Katie. She felt trapped. She’d invested in her company for a number of years, and she felt there was nowhere left to advance. Her employer paid for an industry-specific certification course for her, which made her feel indebted, but she knew the certification wouldn’t change her position in the way she desired.
Katie only saw one way out: She had to quit.
However, in our conversation, I helped Katie see a multitude of options available. Yes, quitting may be one of the solutions, but in my years of coaching people through career changes, I’ve realized jumping jobs or industries isn’t a catchall solution. In fact, many people end up right back in the same career dissatisfaction quickly after their move.
The way my friend Maxie McCoy puts it, sometimes the big leap is BS. Changing without knowing the major reasons for dissatisfaction is a poor solution.
DON’T JUMP SHIP YET!
Some of the most common phrases I hear from clients include:
“I don’t think I can go any further.”
“I’m looking to be able to grow.”
Or in Katie’s specific case,
“I’m a go-getter. I don’t feel like I can go get ‘em right now.”
Maybe you can relate. You feel stuck, and you only see one way out. Before jumping ship, I hope you’ll consider a few key questions:
- Would you be willing to stay if something changed about your role?
- What specifically do you need to ask for in order to love it in your current place of employment?
- What can you do now to make sure you don’t get into a similar situation in your next role?
LISA BROKE THE (PERCEIVED) RULES.
My recent coaching call with Katie reminded me of Lisa’s story.
When we first met Lisa, she felt conflicted; she loved her day-to-day work in nonprofit healthcare management, but she felt exhausted by the structures around the work. More specifically, as an introvert, she felt a daily drain from the office environment that placed her side-by-side with a multitude of coworkers. She had no issues with her coworkers, but her unique wiring left her feeling exhausted at the end of every work day. Sad to leave her job but ready for an energizing career, she contacted us.
Through coaching conversations, we helped Lisa realize she didn’t need to sacrifice a role she enjoyed for the energy she desired. She could change her thought process and discover her ideal career with a mindset we call “and thinking.”
People rarely use “and thinking.” We’re used to “either/or thinking,” where we must choose between things. Like choosing between feeling passionate about work and making a decent salary. Or in Lisa’s case, choosing between a fulfilling work and a comfortable, energizing work environment.
As we worked with Lisa, she admitted her ideal career would be working as an independent consultant, but she had no idea how to transition or overcome her fears of instability. Our conversations helped Lisa realize the solution wasn’t to up and quit, but to have a conversation with her employer about changing the employment agreement.
Since Lisa was well-respected in her company, the transition ended up being fairly easy. In her very first discussion with her boss, she walked away with her first client. Lisa was valued, and when she let herself creatively consider options that fit her unique needs, she found a solution that worked for both her and for her employer.
Lisa’s story is just one example of why identifying the core needs for your career is essential before making drastic changes. To hear my live coaching call with Katie to address her feelings that she’d advanced as high as possible in her job, click the play button above.
******Katie’s end resolution email ***** went from scared and unsure what to do to now having her boss as an advocate.
Katie and I did that coaching session a while back. Shortly after that she sent me an email.
Just wanted to update you since we talked a couple weeks ago. I took your advice and I talked to my boss, telling him how I wasn’t enjoying work, wasn’t challenged enough etc. And it could not have gone better! He has actually recommended me for a job as a sales rep for one of our suppliers, that is a more challenging, involved position. He realizes that the position I am in now at his company does not have longevity and room for me to continuously grow. And now I have a job interview with that company!
Just wanted to thank you for all your advice and help!
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