QI've told my employer that I'd like to leave my current position within 12 months, and that I'd like to find a position in a different department doing a different kind of work. It has been six months, and no one has approached me about other opportunities within the company. Should I assume they want me to leave?
AGet moving! Not to a different company -- take action inside your current one if you really want to stay.
The inner game
Start with a big reality check. Having reached out to your employer that you want a new role, it is your responsibility to make it happen. Being passive and waiting for something to come to you sends a message that you aren't engaged in managing your career. It probably also calls into question your commitment to staying with the company.
But what's done is done; now it's time to figure out why you've been holding back. Look at other aspects of your life. Do you typically wait for opportunities to come to you, and let others take the initiative? If so, consider if that's really serving you. Imagine taking the initiative, noticing any feelings you might have. If anxiety surfaces, consider whether past experiences have led you to limit your actions.
Think about times when you've gotten something you want by taking the first step. What was different, and how could you use that to your advantage? Also think about people you admire who take this approach so that you can learn from their example.
Now, on to the issue at hand. If you'd like a different position, what would you like to be doing? List the departments that you'd like to work in and the roles you'd like to have. Envision your ideal for where you'll be in six months. Once you can see it, you can strive for it.
The outer game
Taking action will require reaching out to people, letting them know about your interest and telling them what you have to offer. Certainly if positions are posted, apply for them. However, more opportunities will come if you request meetings with leaders in your company and discuss your vision for yourself and your company. This takes some spunk, so you may want to start with someone familiar to you.
Remember to check in with your boss, who is likely wondering what is next with you. Don't be afraid to ask for specific types of guidance or assistance, such as introductions to his or her peers.
Prepare a brief (one-page) summary of yourself. Rather than a résumé, think about a marketing piece that presents your interests and key skills. A résumé can follow if there is interest.
Finally, get Plan B in place. Your boss knows that you want a different job and is probably making plans for your replacement. You can't assume that you can stay if you don't find anything else. So, what will you do in six months if nothing else comes through?
The last word
You're the driver, and taking charge of your future will increase your chances of finding an engaging new professional role.
What challenges do you face at work? Send your questions to Liz Reyer, a credentialed coach and president of Reyer Coaching & Consulting in Eagan. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.