Jumpers vs. Clingers at Midlife
Over the years, I have identified two kinds of midlife career
changers: Jumpers and Clingers.
Jumpers thrive on energy, enthusiasm and improbable luck.
The last three times they leaped, a net appeared. They see
no reason why the next jump should be any different.
Clingers thrive on careers that offer security, money and
identity. When they outgrow their careers, or find themselves
forced out, they feel lost. They can't remember the last time
they found themselves in this position.
Coaching jumpers and clingers for career change
Jumpers call a coach when they are ready to find a new mountain.
Suggest a destination and they ask, "Where is it?"
Often they've made another leap before the coach realizes
what is going on.
Clingers call a coach when they find themselves lost in the
jungle. They ask, "How do I know if I've made the right
decision?" and, "How can I find security?"
They hold out a one-way ticket, asking, "How do I change
to a round trip?"
Jumpers have learned to accept that sinking-feeling-in-the-gut
as they leap off the mountain. Climbers are not used to feeling
edgy. They don't want a roadmap; they want a hotel reservation,
preferably chosen from a listing in the auto club book.
Career change lessons for jumpers and clingers
Both Jumpers and Clingers face a new reality. Even the bravest
Jumper can run out of luck. Choose the wrong mountain and
the net never appears. And in the twenty-first century, Clingers
must create their own security.
Jumpers must stop at the edge of the mountain, before the
point of no return. "Does this feel right?" they
have to ask. "Should I look first this time, to see if
the net really exists? Or maybe instead of leaping it's time
to climb down more carefully, one ledge at a time."
Clingers also have to ask, "Does this feel right?"
Like Jumpers, they must look for safety nets. They learn to
read maps and differentiate between dangerous potholes and
afternoon shadows. And when they can't get a guaranteed hotel
reservation, they learn to make a contingency plan to avoid
sleeping in the park.
Jumpers learn to walk where they used to run. Clingers learn
to walk where they used to ride.
Most people will combine the qualities of jumpers and clingers,
but you can save a lot of grief by knowing your prevailing
style. Jumpers need guides who say, "Stop! Think!"
Clingers need guides who motivate them to go. Over-motivated
jumpers become daredevils; over-planned clingers lose momentum.
Disasters and Victories
Both jumpers and clingers face disaster. Jumpers leap into
icy water or treacherous rocks. Clingers find their once-secure
shelter has been blown over by a hurricane.
Jumpers bring energy and daring to a new venture; clingers
bring planning skills and a track record of past accomplishment.
Ultimately, both achieve success by recognizing their own
operational styles and using their own strengths to survive
and thrive in new terrain.
|Cathy Goodwin, Ph.D. is an author, career coach, and
speaker. She works with mid-career professionals who want to make a fast
move to career freedom. Visit her site http://www.movinglady.com
or call 505-534-4294.