How long is too long for a career transition?

This question of career transition and how long it should take came up several times during my trainings last week.

And it’s a really good question.

Whether you’re about to make the big leap or you’re in the midst of your career transition, most of us would like to have a clear schedule for what’s about to come.

The answer to this question is as individual as you are. Ask 100 people who went through a career transition and you get 100 different answers.

And that’s good. You want an individual, personalized life path and so should be your transition process.

But there are some reflections that will help you to see things a bit clearer and transition a bit smoother.


#1 Are you a “truth” or a “dare” person?

In case you haven’t made the jump yet but are thinking about it, stop, and answer these questions first.

Are you a “truth” person? Do you usually choose truthful and deep insights above action?

Or are you a “dare” person? Committed to take action no matter what the outcome might be and how much you might embarrass yourself because this uncertainty excites you?

Your default behaviour is an important indicator how to initiate any kind of change or transition process.

For some people it’s better to explore in depth possibilities and eventualities and prepare this transition diligently. Maybe even opting for a “soft transition” meaning creating your next professional venture already in parallel, even if this might require much more time, and making the final jump when all’s ready.   

For other, action and daring is crucial. They need to jump and discover important insight during the free fall. 

There’s no right or wrong approach to preparing a career transition and every approach has different time requirements.

There’s just the one approach you feel more aligned with. And that’s the one you should choose.


#2 Still exploring or already suffering?

When people ask me “How long is too long for a career transition?” I would answer “Once you start to suffer, it starts to be too long!”.

Leaving the things we don’t want in our lives behind us and testing out new waters without knowing where we’ll drift and end up  can be one of the most amazing life experiences. Talking from experience here.

But there’s also an expiration date to it, also talking from experience here. 

So listen to yourself carefully.

Are you still fully absorbing all life and learning experiences and processing them into valuable insight?

Or does this exploration start to go bad, causing you and upset stomach, sleepless nights and a restless mind?

In that case, it’s the right moment to look for some help. No shame in that. We don’t always have to figure things out on our own.


#3 You’re never done with transitioning

Just to be clear on this one, you’re never done transitioning!

As intelligent, aspirational and evolving human beings we’re never done with growing, expanding, and changing.

We’re always transitioning from one point to the next along our wonderful life journey. 

So we should accept transitions as normal state of being. Always consciously and lovingly welcoming them into our lives. The small ones as well as the big ones.

With the right amount of self-awareness and the right tools transitions remain what they’re supposed to be: The living proof that we’re embracing all learning and growing experiences that life offers us to help us get to the next level.   

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