Job changes can be devastating

Changing jobs can be exhilarating or traumatic. Leadership coach John M. McKee provides ideas that anyone can use to make the change more successfully.

Recently a client, "Bob," chose to leave an organization he'd been with for years. During the time with that company, he worked his way up the ranks, ultimately reaching the level of executive vice president. From the outside he seemed to be a great success story, but internally Bob knew his success had come at great cost to his soul. So he decided to leave before there was nothing of the "real him" left.

He made a gutsy move.

Obviously 2011 is not exactly a great job market -- even for an IT executive. What made his decision even more, I'll say, "exciting" is that he has no other job lined up. Bob's a brave guy. He believes in himself and is looking forward to a better job at a better place in his next place of employment. That attitude is going to be very important in the coming months.

I applaud anyone with his tenacity and confidence. Staying at a place that doesn't fit is, at best, a short-term solution. It can eat you alive after a while. I've seen many healthy and happy people become totally different after years of putting up with crap. I'm talking about things like having a jerk for a boss, following company policies that are just wrong, or being undervalued. Even the strongest will crater in a toxic environment.

So Bob's left all that. He's out. He's on his own.

Bob is entering into a major transition phase. If he's like most people, he's going to come out of this period different than he went in. Most people in his place go through a lot of ups and downs. Many start to doubt their decisions at some point. ("What was I thinking?") Many in a transition experience mood swings if it takes a long time to get a new job. It may be hard on his loved ones, putting stress on relationships. But fortunately for Bob, he's got a road map to help him move forward. He's ready for what may be around the next curve on the road.

Major transitions are interesting in that regardless of what one is going through (including death of a love one, loss of a job, divorce) we often have the same series of emotions. If you can prepare yourself in advance for that, the emotional stress can be far less challenging.

Using insight from The Sedona Method and the work of Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, I was able to help Bob understand what he's likely going to go through in the coming months. This provided a kind of "heads-up."  It allowed him to better prepare himself for the emotional ups and downs he'll likely experience. I suggested he use one of the best books I know for anyone going into a challenging period: Transitions. It's brilliant.

I'm encouraged that my client understands what may lie ahead for him, and he's embracing these models early on. His odds of making it through this period and coming out a better, stronger guy are good.

If you know of anyone who is in a similar situation, I recommend telling him or her to use some of these materials. You'll provide a great favor and may learn something yourself.

Here's to your future!


By John McKee

John M. McKee is the founder and CEO of, an international consulting and coaching practice with subscribers in 43 countries. One of the founding senior executives of DIRECTV, his hands-on experience includes leading billion d...