How to Find the Right Help at the Right Time for a Faster and Easier Career or Work-Life Transition

The ups and downs of career change and work-life transitions can be time-consuming and emotionally demanding. This article will help you get clear about how to find the right support at the right time. 

Look for Small Changes That Develop your Resilience During Career Change and Work-Life Transition.

1500 miles.  In good weather, this is the distance that migrating Canada geese can fly in a single day. A simple adaptation makes a big difference. The change? By flying in a V formation and switching lead positions, individual birds conserve energy. The whole flock can fly further. 

Do you know what small changes would support you to progress more easily on your career change journey? It’s sometimes easier to identify what’s unhelpful than what your need most.

Gain clarity about what types of support will be most helpful to you by using  the framework below. The four types of support identified are:

  • emotional
  • instrumental
  • informational
  • appraisal. 

These four categories are derived from research on effective social support. 

Which types of support are most relevant to you?

1. Emotional Support to Ride the Work-Life Transition Rollercoaster 

Important changes in work and life can be an emotional rollercoaster. So how do you navigate the ups and downs without ending up feeling exhausted? 

The first step is to recognize the importance of emotional support. Access to a network of people who can validate your experiences and provide encouragement makes a big difference. 

Changes at work often coincide with the loss of important social and professional relationships. This may mean that you reduced access to support at times when it would be most helpful. 

If this is true for you, don’t wait. Be proactive. Check out what is available in your area, through your professional association, or online. Building new connections is also a good way to learn about opportunities that otherwise you might not have access to.  

The most important thing is to recognize that even changes that you choose can be emotionally demanding. Access to the emotional support that you need is not a luxury. It’s a crucial element of your successful work-life transition. 

2. Getting Instrumental and Practical Support for Successful Work-Life Change 

In this framework, the second type of support is instrumental. This is practical help that helps you get things done to move forward with your career change. This might be direct help, such a professional that you hired to write your resume or CV or to teach you how to research companies. 

Or it might be indirect support. A friend might do grocery shopping for you or care for your children so that you have uninterrupted time to prepare your career communication documents.  

What’s most helpful for you will depend on your situation and the phase of your work-life transition. 

3. Informational Support that Saves Time and Reduces Confusion 

The third type of support in this framework is informational. In particular, the right information at the right time.  

At certain points in your career change and search for new opportunities, getting reliable information that fits what you need will be a priority. The internet makes it much easier to find relevant information. But information overload is a big challenge. Finding informational support often requires you to consider what will be most helpful. 

Say, for example, you want to evaluate the feasibility of changing industries. Through online research, you can access a great deal of information. But is it the right information? What is more likely to be useful at this point is the ability to have two-way conversations that allow you to ask specific questions.  

4. Appraisal Support to Accelerate your Career Change Preparation 

The fourth type of support in this framework is appraisal support, or evaluation and feedback. Getting honest and informed feedback are particularly important at various times in your career change. 

Appraisal support is not always problem-focused. For example, professionals commonly struggle with identifying and articulating their strengths in ways that speak to potential employers. Sometimes an outsider, such as a trusted colleague, mentor, or coach can help you see connections that up to then were invisible to you. 

When you are changing direction, the ability to “speak the language” of a new field will be a key factor for your credibility. Evaluation support can help you become more aware of ways to adapt so that you can make your transition more quickly. 

Make your Work-Life Transition Easier with this Framework: How to Find the Right Help at the Right Time 

Making big career and work-life transitions can feel like a confusing and lonely journey. But it doesn’t have to be. More often than not, friends, family, and colleagues want to help. But they may not know how. My hope is that this framework will help you to help them by increasing clarity about what you need most at different phases of your career change. 

Finding the right help at the right time will make your transition easier. Getting better at giving and receiving support, will not only develop your future resilience, but also strengthen the relationships that are so important for health and happiness in work and in life. 

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