Deep into a second bottle of Cabernet the other night, my friend and longtime-ago college roommate was describing the career crossroads she was facing. After three decades in NY, London and Johannesburg in independent movie production, and recently divorced, she finds herself back in our college town, having put her mother in a nursing home with Alzheimer's. Should she find a job there, or get back to New York where she has friends and contacts and try to build again there?
There's more going on here, of course, with a shrinking pool of interesting jobs for 50-somethings as age discrimination in hiring has become the norm. There's the fact that her standard of living is so much higher and greener than it would be in New York. There's the question of finding an interesting man, and the question of whether the money will run out before she figures things out.
I was thinking about her predicament on my way home. This is a really difficult decision! We went around and around on all of the factors, until 2:00 am, in fact. It's not clear how this decision will get made, as the factors swirled in my mind. After months or years of mental swirling, so often we just plunge in on a big change, and lots of times look back and wish we had thought things through more. Is there a better way?
Turns out you can apply business change management theory to yourself. I learned that from the September, 2015, Harvard Business Review, "Managing Yourself: How to Embrace Complex Change" by Linda Brimm. Brimm provides us with the "seven C's of navigating career changes." The article is not available online without a subscription so I'm summarizing it here, adapting it a bit and cutting down the HBR-speak.
In a nutshell, it says to be systematic about these very difficult personal decisions, and don't skip or rush the steps.
I'm glad to be reminded how important it is to be purposeful and systematic even with the toughest personal decisions. We are so careful to do this in business, why not in our personal lives?
The opinions and points of view expressed in this commentary are exclusively the views of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of MediaVillage.com / MyersBizNet, Inc. management or associated bloggers.