Career transitions take many forms. Some transitions involve moving within an organization, rising through levels of leadership over time but largely staying in the same functional organizational path. Other transitions involve staying in one’s career track or discipline but transitioning from one organization to another. The most significant career transitions typically involve a “reinvention” of some kind—for example, an accountant deciding to go to medical school.

Regardless of the scope of the transition, all transitions share a common element—change, which always brings some form of ambiguity, uncertainty, and often stress. In fact, a great deal of research indicates that significant transitions at work can create as much stress as significant life events such as having a child or changes in marital status. Bigger changes are likely ...

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