“It’s important to prepare yourself in good times to the bad times because bad times will always come up.”

In 2017  I had a chance to attend a Web Summit and listen to the Wladimir Klitschko webinar ( I must admit that I have always been following his boxing career, which was a huge reason I decided to travel there). At that time, he was after his last fight (that he lost) before he transitioned into his new job.

Klitschko had a very long and successful sports career, and he is considered one of the best heavyweight boxers in sports history. 

But despite his successful career in sport, he started to prepare for his next career during his gold days as an athlete. As he said in one of his interviews, he knew that sports careers don’t last forever, and you had to think about your next steps early enough. 

Some words stood out to me during his speech and became a part of my life philosophy! 

“It’s important to prepare yourself in good times to the bad times because bad times will always come up. No matter how good you are at something, bad times or challenging times always will appear, and you have to do it during good times.”

How does that resonate with career transition in a business environment? 

Have you ever experienced one of those situations:

  1. Your company decided to change the organisation structure, cut the headcount, had a hiring freeze, and as a result, you have been made redundant ( I was!). 
  2. You were in a role you didn’t like for a while, but you put yourself into “survival mode” for some time. Then you reached that point you couldn’t continue it anymore, you felt physically and mentally sick to continue working, and you quit without a plan. What to do next?
  3. You felt stuck in your role; you thought about moving to something different but constantly postponing your decision. You didn’t have enough time to prepare for the interviews, start looking or even reflect on what would you like to do. Suddenly circumstances have changed in the world, and you feel stuck without a further plan.
  4. Your manager has changed suddenly, and you don’t get along well with a new one. It’s time to think about the next step, but what is it?

It’s hard to plan the next steps at the time when any of the scenarios happen. If you wait until the last moment, you will be forced to think about the change or options. Even if your company is one of the best globally, the world is changing rapidly. Unexpected things will always happen. 

We change jobs multiple times in our lives; only a few stay in one place for years. 

You need to open your mind early, at the right time, because when the time comes, you will ask yourself a question: what’s next? And at that time, you are already behind, putting yourself under lots of pressure to make that decision. If you were not asking yourself these questions before, you can put yourself under lots of stress and feel stuck when the time comes. 

What you can do then instead:

  1. Become more self-aware of your goal in your life and career and where you would like to go with it?
  2. Recognise your values, passions, interests, and when you are at your best. Only a few can name their values.
  3. Analyse your current situation and what you would like to see more of in your next role or career. How would you like to see your life in the future?
  4. Invest in yourself, your skills, and your education. Focus on developing skills for a future career. Many companies offer an education allowance that you can use to invest in future skills.
  5. Invest your time working with a mentor or a coach who can help you build a roadmap for your transition journey so that you won’t lose track. 
  6. Invest in building meaningful relationships and networks regularly with people from your current industry and outside. 
  7. Have some savings! It would help if you had enough to cover your living expenses for at least six months. 
  8. Become a better version of yourself every day, taking small steps. Change happens gradually! 
  9. Update your CV regularly and practice interviewing even if you are not actively looking!
  10. Always educate yourself. Try to be the best in what 

Be prepared and strategic with your next step. So when a bad time comes, you won’t get cut off the guard. Preparation allows you to leave on your terms with a clear plan and goal for the future.