Expatriation is often linked with questioning about the next step in our professional path. It may lead to the selection of a different professional life, new experimentation, pause, self reinvention…
But how does this process work? Is there any magic solution, which suddenly brings clarity about the professional future? Not at all…
In her book “Working Identity”, Herminia Ibarra * writes “ We like to think that the key to a successful career change is knowing what we want to do next and then using that knowledge to guide our actions. But change usually happens the other way around: Doing come first, knowing second. Why? Because changing careers means redefining our working identity- how we see ourselves in our professional roles, what we convey about ourselves to others, and ultimately, how we live our working lives.”
And that process is often longer than what we hope or think.
“We like to think that we can leap directly from a desire for change to a single decision that will complete our reinvention. As a result, we remain naïve about the long, essential testing period when our actions transform (or fail to transform) fuzzy, undefined possibilities into concrete choices we can evaluate. This transition phase is indispensable because we do not give up a career path in which we have invested so much of ourselves unless we have a good sense of the alternatives”.
To build this “good sense of alternatives”, thinking about different professional projects and testing reality by meeting and discussing with other professional is a key element for leading the transition. During career assessments, consultants and coaches from Harmony Mobility Consulting highly encourage and support their clients to share their ideas and projects with people from the professional environment they are interested in. This is an efficient way to close doors to some projects and develop new opportunities.
- Herminia Ibarra is Professor of Organizational Behavior at INSEAD in Fontainebleau, France