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A story about Career Transition at the Executive Level


A President of a medium sized, multi-unit, regional company contacted me a few months ago regarding changing careers. While my client is highly regarded in the industry s/he was at a crossroads. My Client is about 5-years from retirement and thought “it’s only 5-years, I can stick it out.” but wasn’t being fulfilled. Does s/he stick it out, or take a risk and find something new?

My client’s desire is to remain in a similar industry, but was interested in doing something totally different. An executive level position where her/his current skills and competencies could transfer and complement his/her next role/company.

My client knew that what s/he was interested in pursuing is new to the industry yet not widely practiced, however will become part of the industry SOP in the coming years. So we researched the industry and found a conference that was being held on the subject matter. My client registered for the conference and started the pre-work of learning more about the industry and attendees. S/he sent out introductory emails to the presenters and asked to set up “coffee meetings”, s/he did the same when the attendee list became available. Researching the attendees and set up meetings with those that would add the most value to her/his research.

The conference was a success, not only did my client learn a great deal about the industry, where it’s going, etc. S/he also learned that the company that is most progressive in this field is located near my client’s home. My client reached out and had a cursory conversation with the company President that led no where (at the time), and left my client feeling somewhat defeated, s/he fell into the “it’s only 5-years, I can stick it out.” mode.

Through coaching and her/his persistence, my client has been actively meeting with the company mentioned above, and has also interviewed, or in the processes of being interviewed at eight other companies in the same field.

Lessons Learned:

  1. Working with a Coach helps define the journey and keeps the client on-track (or on multiple tracks).

  2. It takes time, work and persistence, a lot of persistence

  3. You’re never too old to change your career

  4. Following a process pays off in the end

  5. If there isn’t a “posted” need, create the need for your next employer

  6. Your resume is never the first step in any career/job transition

(note - due to the confidentiality of this transition, specifics have been left very general)

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