10,000 km to change: km 9,000 looking back and looking ahead by Charlotte Murray
Photo courtesy of Kyla HemmelgarnThis is exactly why I wanted to write a career transition blog series – to force myself to reflect. And indeed, I say force, because this expedition has been so full of action, is easy to let the quality reflection time to slide another day, another week, another month. At this point of my transition, being in the fourth month of a four month expedition, reflection is ever so important because there are only three weeks to go before the official end of the CANADIVE Expedition; which means the question what’s next? is ringing in my ears, and becoming stronger by the day.
So how have I approached this question?
Firstly, the action I refer to in the expedition is not only being constantly on the move. I have been doing things: scuba diving, budgeting and keeping track of our finances, marketing strategy and execution, ongoing project management, PR and media relations, blogging (and then looking for an internet connection), monitoring online activities, managing partner relations, negotiating with local shops, using coaching skills, and of course, ongoing team work and communication with my team mate (and my husband). Besides the diving, that list of skills could easily be a corporate job description (or a part of several job descriptions). This made me realize that although I’m now far from corporate life (at least in geographical distance!), the skills are very transferable in completely different settings.
Secondly, transition is not static. One of the reasons for the CANADIVE Expedition was to transition to a new career or way of life, while applying skills and one of my passions into something that creates action, awareness and involvement around marine debris. The expedition has a finite lifespan of four months that we set for ourselves, but I now realize that my career transition will not be over at the end of the four months, and neither will the mantra that we have created through this expedition (every dive is a clean-up dive).
So when it comes to what’s next?, a few points that come together as an important aHa for me makes the what’s next? question even more exciting: my realization and confirmation that my skills are indeed transferrable (tried and tested in action), combined with the change in my own perspective that my transition is not really over when the expedition is over.
With three weeks left, and definitely many adventures and experiences to come my way yet, I leave you with these few tips:
1) Don’t put off your reflection time – make a date with yourself, or get someone to hold you accountable, or whatever way that works for you. This monthly blog was my way to keep myself accountable and to reflect consistently, and so far it’s working.
2) Be creative in how you can apply skills – with an open mind, resourcefulness and a little distance from routine, your skills become less specific to a certain job or function, and can become moldable, adaptable and useful in completely different situations.
3) Embrace the point that transition is not static but fluid – transition is a process. The only deadlines are the ones you set for yourself. We set four months for the CANADIVE Expedition, which made financial sense for us and was a good checkpoint before settling down. But until now, the expedition and my transition timeline were the same. Now, I am intentionally separating the end of the expedition from my ‘completed’ career transition. This is just the beginning.