The Four Stages of Finding a New Career

Wouldn't it be great to just wake up one morning and know what your new job should be? Since that ain't gonna happen, let's look at what discovering a new career does look like. Rather than an event, it's a process--one that starts before you probably even realize it.

Like all transitions, career change has a predictable arc. It's a journey. And sure enough, the Latin root of the word transition is "a going across."

The Four Stages of Finding a New Career:


Stage 1: Divine Dissatisfaction

Something's not right. You might be depressed, deflated, or disengaged. You understand that something needs to change, but you may not know what or how. This is an uncomfortable but necessary part of transition.

To borrow from Martha Graham:

“There is only a queer divine dissatisfaction;

a blessed unrest that keeps us marching

and makes us more alive than the others.”

The unrest you’re feeling–consider it marching orders from on high. Or deep down. Or whatever you believe in. You’re receiving a powerful message that may be disrupting your sleep, happiness, relationships, and sense of purpose. Don’t deny the message. Write it down, talk to someone, keep listening. You may not like what you hear, but let it come in. Be mad, be sad--just don't pretend it isn't happening.


Stage 2: Cave Dwelling

It’s time to burrow. You may contemplate & question. You may isolate, and rightly so; it’s cocoon time. Quiet, contemplative activities are a match. Consider walking, reading, writing, and creative projects. In a subtle way, you are starting to work through your dissatisfaction and reconnect with yourself--the real you. You get glimmers of how things might be different. Eventually, you emerge from your cave for…


Stage 3. Active Seeking

This is when things start to really happen. You feel curious and optimistic. You're more excited than afraid to answer the big questions you stirred up while cave dwelling. You think about possible jobs all the time and become obsessed with how it's all going to work our before you even know exactly what you want. You devour information in the form of blogs, books, and courses. You are fully engaged with figuring out what comes next for you.


Stage 4. Coming Home

You know who you are, what you want, and your own value. People may comment that you seem brighter or happier. You may feel energized, passionate, and full of potential, or just quietly confident in your new direction. Also: you feel the good kind of fear that is mostly excitement. You feel ready to take on the world, and in your own way, you shall.

So that's the "going across" of finding a career you'll love. What stage are you in?