The Jumping Executive
The Jumping Executive
For the record, I once knew a man named Warren who was both an incredible high jumper (he frequently jumped higher than 7’) and a successful executive. This post isn’t about him, though he could teach us a thing or two about sticking to a goal!
This VIM Executive Coaching post is about would be leaders who start a new job, grow quickly dissatisfied, jump to another job, soon leave, and again and again. Invariably, they admit “Hey, you know that first company wasn’t so bad. Maybe I should have given it a little more time.”
It’s All Right to Explore
We are the first to encourage exploration. Many executive leaders we have coached begin in one field and wind up in a completely new area. There is nothing wrong with that. Biologists we’ve coached have become architects; teachers have become physicians who go on to administer large healthcare complexes; software developers who become university professors; writers have become heads of food companies and it is all perfectly logical and “authentic.” The changes have come from an inner need to find a career that satisfies their passions and their life.
However, there is a great difference between a logical career progression and jumping on a whim without a plan in mind. The person who jumps – just to jump, invariably ends up disappointed. In fact, many career jumpers never progress as far as they could have progressed had they been more deliberate.
Frequent “Job Jumpers” who could have become remarkable executive leaders or entrepreneurs all too often finish their careers in rather dull middle management positions. Obviously, if an executive jumps jobs too frequently, or fails to build any kind of progression, she or he will often fall prey to inconsistency in their resumes and time itself. It is a great thing to finally find one’s culinary passion to at 77, but don’t expect too many restaurants to fall over themselves to hire you as executive chef!
The same holds true for many entrepreneurs. “Going entrepreneurial” requires great focus no matter the field. Even if an executive goes from a staid office job to being a river guide or starting a company that sells flavored peanut butter, there must be a plan, a way to reach a customer base, and many other issues from liability to shipping.
Therefore, exploration within any career is positive however, jumping about the job market with the capriciousness of a gazelle is usually a career arc that poorly ends.
There are other ways
Fortunately, executive coaching affords a different way to determine the best, next career move. It not desirable to jump from one career to another without having a plan in mind. VIM Executive Coaching strongly encourages executive leaders to work on themselves and to explore what the best careers might be best suited to their needs.
We offer many techniques to help entrepreneurs and executives to make that “inner journey” to better understand what they want and to determine what it is about their current careers that they feel is lacking.
We are not so focused on giving the typical, standardized “career tests” as we are to encourage our clients to explore their own mindfulness and to become more authentic in what they do. By examining ourselves and understanding what it is our current career lacks we can then put together a plan, and a way of thinking that will better align us with what we seek to accomplish. There are indeed other ways to explore new careers without blindly jumping and changing for the sake of change.
We may get surprised
We well remember a coaching client who wanted to change jobs simply because he was afraid to manage people. He loved his company and he loved what he did, but he was afraid of another promotion because he felt as though he would fail as a manager! This is not as rare a phenomenon as you might imagine. Many would-be executives have fears that are unfounded. We have had other clients who were fearful of lacking foreign language skills, licensing or technical expertise and we explored ways in which they could gain the credentials they needed.
By coaching executives and entrepreneurs to be more mindful and more authentic in their careers, they can avoid jumps for the sake of jumping, and to be more deliberate and authentic in each career move they make.
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