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The end of the year/new year is an excellent time to reflect on your values and priorities (What do you deeply care about? How can you build your life and career around what matters to you most?) so that you are clear on what changes you would like to bring in your career and life in the coming year. During the past months, our newsletters covered various topics that may help humanitarian aid / international development professionals in career/life transition. I am sharing some of them here. [...] Read More
I support humanitarian, human rights, international development, peacekeeping professionals (people currently working in these sectors but also those who left those sectors) and other impact sector professionals (services are also open to people in other professions - foreign affairs, veterans, aviation, etc.) through coaching. These professions often work in remote, insecure environments and are exposed to potentially traumatic events (what is considered a traumatic event for one individual may not be traumatic for another person) such as kidnapping, physical assaults, accidents, armed attacks, war, rapes, sexual abuse/assaults, torture, riots, mob violence, death of colleagues, etc. (in addition to common causes of workplace trauma that may happen, such as racism, bullying, intimidation, poor work-life boundaries, isolation, job insecurity etc.). Some people may have also experienced trauma outside of their professional lives. If they work in the field, away from family, they may have a lot going on back home (separation, divorce, death of loved ones, etc.), too. […] Read More
... According to the "State of the Global Workplace 2023 Report" by Gallup, the global engagement rate in 2022 was the highest level since Gallup began measuring global engagement in 2009. Still, only 23 % of the world's employees were engaged. The rest – 59% were not engaged, and 18% were actively disengaged. The same report also found employee stress remained at a record-high level (44 % of employees said they experienced a lot of stress the previous day). When employees were engaged at work, they reported significantly lower stress. Wouldn't it be great if you could be one of the 23% who love your job and are engaged in your work? […] Read More
...I often remind myself of the Japanese word "Ichigo Ichie" - Think of every event/encounter as a once-in-a-lifetime experience, so we need to devote ourselves to it. As I get older, I feel the importance of living fully in the moment, but at my age, I still need to make sure my business is progressing as well as wish to feel a sense of contribution through my work. This is a delicate balancing act. I am still trying to find the right balance in my life but being aware of how I operate and being intentional about my choice give me a sense of control in my life. We will need to regularly check in on how we are progressing toward our goals and also still be in touch with the present moment. [...] Read More
Networking is probably one of the most important elements during a career transition (and career development generally). Many of the jobs are filled through networking. If you are transitioning into a different sector (for example, from the private sector to humanitarian/International development and vice versa), networking becomes even more important. I came across many successful career transitioners (including those who transitioned to/from the international development/humanitarian field) who had started self-reflection (their values, longer-term vision, strengths, interests, and preferences) and initiated conversations with contacts/connections before they left the job they had. [...] Read More
People often ask me why I specifically provide career transition coaching for people in the humanitarian aid and international development field, including those leaving the field. For people who served in other functions (for example, the military), there may be some resources/support available if they transition into civilian life. Unfortunately, in many cases, there's no such support for people who served humanitarian causes if they decide to go back to their home country before their retirement. For people whose careers have spanned many years and different countries, finding 'home' and transitioning into a new career can be challenging. [...] Read More
Many of my newsletter readers have worked (or are still working) in the international development and the humanitarian sector. If you are transitioning into retirement from these sectors, your career has probably spanned different countries and often in a challenging environment. Many of you will be going through two transitions – from work life to retirement life and from life in the field to life in your home country. For some, finding a "home" and transitioning into retirement life may present unique challenges. These transitions can also be challenging for the accompanying spouse/partner. [...] Read More
Mid-career professionals often ask me if they can transition into a career in a completely different profession. I also often hear people in this age group say something like, "if I leave my current job, it has to be now – I am reaching 40, and this is probably my last chance" or "I am over 50 – I am going through this career transition when I should be thinking about my retirement!" People live much longer than previous generations, and many of us will want or need to work into our 70s. So, if you are in your 50s, you may still be able to enjoy 20 more years of your career. But how would you know what your right next career move would be? [...] Read More
… Even in the so-called "family" duty station, finding two jobs in the same location at the same time is not always easy. One finds a position first, and the other may accompany with the hope she/he will find a job there soon. Or accept living separately until the other finds a job in the same location. In some cases, each needs to keep a job in separate locations for a prolonged period. If living apart is out of the question, that usually means one will hold off her/his career for some time. If one person maintains reasonably well-paid work, the arrangement may work out financially. But for the accompanying partner, filling gaps in the CV and finding a suitable job when the right timing arrives is challenging [...] Read More
Happy New Year!! What career goals would you like to set for this year? Many people set New Year's resolutions but procrastinate in getting started. My recent biggest procrastination was when I attempted to start my first business several years ago while living in Europe [...] Read More
Ikigai ("a reason for being") is a Japanese concept, also popular in the western world nowadays. It is a concept difficult to define or translate into English, but it refers to what gives a person a purpose and meaning in life (some explain it as a "reason for getting up in the morning" or "what makes your life worth living"). The pursuit of Ikigai is an ongoing journey. Working towards Ikigai brings us satisfaction and a sense of fulfillment. […] Read More
International development and humanitarian professions are challenging yet highly-rewarding careers. Many people enter this field with a sense of devotion and intend to stay for life. Still, because of the demanding nature of the profession and changing values and commitments within personal life, a need to leave the field could emerge at some point.
For people whose careers have spanned many years and different countries, finding 'home' and transitioning into a new career can be challenging for various reasons. For example, the next destination (home country or elsewhere) may not offer career opportunities in international development or humanitarian sectors. The transition from field life to home may involve many complexities (reverse culture shock, unemployment, etc.). These transitions can also be difficult for the accompanying spouse/partner. […] Read More
Although working in the international development/humanitarian sector was my childhood dream, I started my career in the private sector. I moved from the private sector to the UN, UN to NGO, and now I am a business owner and a career coach. I have over 20 years of experience and worked in 19 countries. Having gone through all these transitions, I can tell these transitions are possible, but we need to be resilient and also need to be strategic. […] Read More
When I look back and ask myself if I was better in arts or science as a child, I was naturally much better in arts. But when I was a high school student, I had a strong passion for becoming a medical doctor. I dreamed about working in developing countries as a rural doctor. So, when the time came to chose which stream (arts stream or science stream) at the beginning of the 2nd year of high school, I decided on the science stream. That was the decision I made as a 15-year old girl. […] Read More
Fifteen years ago, while I was going through a career transition, I wrote to a friend - "They say as long as we are on the right train, we will arrive at the destination sooner or later, but I do not think I am on the right one yet." The response I got from my friend was, "I think that even if you are not on the right train, at least you're on one that is headed in the right direction - I'm sure you'll make the proper connection to the train you need soon enough. At least you're not sitting in the train station!" This conversation left a strong impression on me. I thought about it each time I went through a career/life transition. […] Read More
Since my childhood, I knew I wanted to work in the field of international development. Working for international organizations allowed me to live a life in line with my values and passion. I’ve worked in countries like DRC, Chad, Ethiopia, Sudan, South Sudan, Mali, Mauritania, Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines, Solomon Islands, Ukraine, etc., in various settings.
So, after I came back to Canada in early 2019, it took me some time of reflection to find out what I could do in the next stage of my career. What are my values, passion, strengths, interests, and preferences? Although I was asking myself the right questions, I initially failed to notice a significant shift in my values over time. As a consequence, I was not putting my efforts in the right direction. […] Read More
Video: Yuki Gotanda Coaching & Consulting: Career Transition Coach for International Development and Humanitarian Aid Professionals
Video: Life After the Field - Finding Your Next Step
Transitioning from an international development or humanitarian sector can be challenging for various reasons:
- The transition from field life to home may involve many complexities (reverse culture shock, unemployment, etc.).
- The next destination may not offer career opportunities in international development and humanitarian areas.
- For people whose careers have spanned many years and different countries, finding ‘home’ and a new career, or transitioning into retirement life may also present unique challenges.
- These transitions can also be difficult for the accompanying spouse or partner. [...]
Video: Preparing for a Career in the International Development/Humanitarian Sector
What does it take to get into the international development and humanitarian sector? Often, during our first coaching meeting, my clients ask me if their CV looks ok. But I normally come back to this question a bit later. I start our conversation around your vision and values. [...]
Video: Ikigai and Fulfilling Career Goals (For Young Professionals and Students)
Before becoming a coach, I worked in the International development / humanitarian sector. I have over 20 years of international experience in 19 countries. I am very thankful for the career I have had and my journey so far, but when I was around your age, in my early 20s, I hated my job. It was not a good fit for various reasons.
... Now, a couple of decades later, I can see with more clarity that the jobs I chose during my early career were not aligned with my strengths. But back then, in my 20s, I felt it was too late to change the course of my career because I'd already invested in it (which is funny now when I think about it, as I changed the course of my career several times). I kept looking for opportunities in line with my skillset (what I acquired through past experiences) rather than my natural strengths. I chose this topic because I really wanted you to believe in your potential and possibilities.[...]
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