Lost in Transition

Don’t Be A PME Lost in Transition!

“Hi, thank you for your contributions to the company all these years but I regret to inform you that your services are no longer required. Tomorrow will be your last day with us.”  Does this sound familiar? Yes, the scenario is hard to accept but this is a harsh truth in today’s workplace. The fact is that retrenchment or dismissal can happen to anyone at any time. What can you do to get back on track within the next 3 months? How do you prepare yourself if you are caught in such a situation?
If it happens to you and you have no answers to the above questions, then chances are that you may be lost in transition. Yes, you can get lost in career transition and not know what is your next step or destination. What exactly do you want for your career? What is your career identity? What is your desired future? Some of you may have been working in the same role and function or even in the same company for the longest time. You may have not updated your resume or attended interviews for many years. Some of you may not even know your own strengths and interests or the resources available to support you when you are faced with career adversity. That’s why it is important to do career planning to ensure that you are prepared for it.

In this article, I share with you seven stages to get started with career planning. For a start, you can consider the following:


First and foremost, you should embark on this journey of exploration and self-discovery to find out “Who You Are”. Ask yourself these questions:

·         How much do you know about yourself?
·         What do you like to do?
·         What do you value most in your workplace?
·         What motivates you to work?
·         What are your strengths?

The last thing you want is to end up in a job or environment as a misfit. Try not to be a “square peg trying to fit into a round hole” but rather, find a job or role that suits your strengths and interests to enhance your performance, productivity and efficiency.


After understanding who you are, find out what is in your skill inventory. Ask yourself:

·         What can you offer from your years of experience?
·         Are you aware of the latest market trends and industry expectations?
·         How relevant are your current skillsets and knowledge in your field of work?

Understanding what you have in your inventory is crucial but a job search is never about what you have done or what you have. It is about what you can contribute and add value to your potential employer. In the current market, apart from your core competencies and domain expertise, both soft and transferrable skills are essential tools which you need to include in your repertoire. The concept of having a portfolio career or becoming a T-shaped professional is very much the key to survival in today’s competitive job market. Apart from your domain experience and expertise, what else can you offer to potential employers to make you stand out from your competitors? Do start working out your Unique Selling Propositions (USP) today!

When you are lost with no goals, what can you do? This is one of the most important stages of career planning, particularly when you are stuck and unable to move forward. What have you tried or explored? Have you left no stone unturned? What have you learnt from your past and present to explore what is possible in the future? It is imperative to leverage on your past experiences, strengths and resources to explore possibilities in your current situation and environment. Although there is always an element of luck but there are things that can be done to enhance the “probability of success”. Some of these things may be beyond your control but there are also things which you can control and do to enhance your possibilities. Consider stepping out of your own comfort zone to do something that is beyond your current core duties and scope of work. You never know what kind of opportunities these may lead you to. Also, remember to take note of your blind spots.


Once you have identified your goals, how do you plan to outreach to potential employers or partners? Think if you have done these:

·         Craft strategies to enhance your search and network eg. leveraging on LinkedIn
·         Have you done research on your targeted employers and industries?
·         What have you found out about your potential company and employer?
·         Where can you find out more information about what’s going on within the company?

This may be time consuming if research is done for every job applied but application quality is far more important than application quantity.


The critical question here is “Are you ready?” Your readiness is determined by your commitment and clarity of your situation and goals. You have done research and identified your goals and strategies in the earlier stages but what other considerations do you have? What gives you more confidence to take the next step? You need to make important decisions, but they are always hard as they affect your livelihood and often make the difference between a fulfilling career and an unfulfilling one. What will your significant other and the people around you say about your decisions? How will your family & financial commitments affect your decisions? You may also find yourself resisting changes due to irrational beliefs. For instance, you may be affected by a wrong decision from the past, affecting your ability to see things objectively, which in turn prevents you from making a rational decision. Can you overcome these resistances and irrational thoughts and start taking action?


“Knowing is not enough, we must apply. Willing is not enough, we must do”. This is one of my favourite quotes from Bruce Lee. Actions speak louder than words and once you are ready, you need to start acting on what you have planned. You will also need to monitor your progress and review goals regularly to ensure that you are on track. Do you track your job applications and follow up? Although the outcome is important, it is also pertinent to review your learning from each experience to improve your next application and interview to achieve results. Did you apply the skills inventory and strategies identified earlier to customise your resume and prepare your elevator speech? Do you register actively for networking events or reach out to your contacts? Remember, you will not go anywhere if you do not move your feet!


A career is defined as a journey or occupation undertaken for a significant period with opportunities for progression and learning. Lifelong learning is an ongoing process and it is important to stay in touch with what’s going on around you all the time. You need to continue to stay relevant and connected with your industry, skills, job market, technology and trends. How often do you engage your industry partners or attend networking events like seminars and conferences? What can you do to stay in touch with your circle of network? At the same time, are you keeping in touch with your needs at different stages of your life and career? It is crucial to stay relevant to build up your career resilience. Career resilience is a buzz word in recent times but what is being resilient? In conclusion, if you start doing everything that is mentioned above, you stand a good chance of being resilient!

Remember, you hold the key to success! EMPOWER yourself from today onwards and start planning, before you get lost in transition!

Article by guest contributor Ken Goh








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