Passion’s Gift….

“From running, I learn to be passionate,” shared Yujue Wang one of seven runners on Boston University’s 2014 Boston Marathon Team.  Wang’s story was part of a sea of media coverage this week commemorating the 2013 Boston Marathon tragedy.   The BU team is running in memory of 23-year-old grad student Lu Lingzi who was killed last year close to the finish line.   Miss Lingzi studied statistics.  She loved American culture; blueberry waffles, Godiva dark chocolate, a CD cover of an Itzhak Perlman violin concerto (The New Yorker 4/17/2013).    I was surprised and thankful to happen upon Miss Wang’s passion quest.  I hadn’t up until that point connected its powerful gift… Continue reading

Networking essentials…

“If you could pack a bag for a woman who was about to embark on a transition, what would you include?” I asked during an interview earlier this week.  I love the question.  It’s my favorite one to ask during Focus Groups.   As women we carry bags, large and small.   Brief cases.  Totes.  Shoulder bags.  Handbags.  If yours is anything like mine all manner of detritus can fit inside.  Her answer to this bag dilemma?  A mirror. Continue reading

When does transition start?

“Nancy, Nancy, wake up!” I screeched as I tried to wake my sister from across the room.  She and I had slept for an hour or two on chairs as we kept vigil at the hospital.   My dad, the patient whose hand I was holding, had been battling cancer.   Over the week leading up to that morning he’d gone from responsive and laughing to captive in a body fatigued by a long, complicated disease.   Thirty minutes earlier I woke up to his erratic breathing.  I knew it was time to say goodbye.  “Wake up!” Continue reading

Transitions derailed….

“Oh, you’re dreaming,” shared Margot, a forty something Focus Group participant.  She was relating a conversation with a family member who wasn’t necessarily embracing her transitional aspirations.  Margot had exited a job that was a poor fit, pivoted to a new industry and added a husband and three children along the way.   “What I’m investigating might not lead to a direct result,” she said.   “Or it might happen down the line.  You have to be comfortable with that….”  Clearly her relatives were not.   That evening we threw the relatives and several other issues into a bucket called derailers, those events that can cause us to stall or head for the hills while in transition.  Have you ever encountered any? Continue reading

Transition’s Interview Basics….

“What am I doing wrong?” fumed Mary Ellen, a mid-forties parent of three who was seeking my assistance in a job search.   Her phone call came on the heels of learning that she didn’t make it to a finalist round for a sought after job.  She was furious.  Or was hurt a better description?   She reasoned that she was perfect for the job. Continue reading

Gratitude: transition’s enabler

Gratitude is a big word and stands on the precipice of overuse at the moment.   I’m always wary of such popular words because it reminds me of a former colleague who was a flavor-of-the-month buzzword type.  Have you ever met one?   One month, vulnerability.  The next, birth order, transparency, and on and on.   It never really served him well.   For example, I remember being corned once by an employee who had interviewed with this guy.  “You have to talk to him,” he appealed.  It seems that during his interview Mr. Buzzword had asked about this gentleman’s parent, a parent who had abused this guy as a kid.   After that little adventure I characterize myself as ‘duly schooled’ on the risks of trendy-word overuse.   Gratitude. Continue reading

Transition: a financial lens

“The other big shift for me was just recognizing that security is all illusion,” shared a Focus Group participant.  We were discussing our lessons learned from transition.  The surprises?  “I started letting go or recognizing that what I thought was security really wasn’t gaining me the traction for joy or however you want to label it,” she went on.  “That was a big let go….(letting go of) going after  the paycheck because I thought I needed that security.”   Have you bumped into similar lessons? Continue reading

Transition: a predictable event?

“Can you tell me when I’m about to transition?” asked a colleague and friend. Her tone was hopeful.  Did I hear a nervous laugh?   She was drowning a bit.  She’d just sold her husband’s family home.  She’d moved her own parents into assisted living.  Her work life had real challenges and her fourth child was readying for college.  It made me wonder, are transitions predictable? Continue reading

Our best defense….

“Everyone else, from my dear husband on, and all of my friends, don’t quite get it,” shared a Focus Group participant.  We were discussing the reactions of those around us to transition.   This woman was no shrinking flower.  She had been the chief researcher at a well-known organization.   Early in her career she had successfully transitioned.   This was her second time at the plate.  She wasn’t alone in her sentiment.  All present acknowledged the confusion experienced by many of those closest to them.   She summarized the view from a friend’s perspective, “If that’s how you’ve always identified yourself and (now you) don’t identify yourself…then who are you?”  They don’t quite get it…. Continue reading

Creativity’s role in transition

‘I’m not sure how to get from today to where I want to be,’ shared a colleague who is considering transition.  She’s had a series of big jobs.  She is a type A, fast-tracker.  Her dream is to create a new marketing platform for an industry that she’s been in for years.  The idea is disruptive and engaging and new.  Sounds awesome, right?  She carries the financial responsibility for her family among other demands.  The result?  A lot of ambiguity about how to transition.  I wonder if there is any magic to how we transition? Continue reading