Your Next Career Pivot
Whether you are a Baby Boomer, Gen Xer, or Millennial, retirement like your parents had is no longer a possibility for most. Just about everyone will have to go through career changes—career pivots—sometime in their life. It’s time to learn how to repurpose your career.
Let me lay out five steps for you to follow that will help you repurpose your career and make a successful career change.
Step 1 – Know thyself.
Take time to understand your core needs, like autonomy, creativity, and your own definition of a good team. Reflect back on your career when you were the happiest. Use my Career Reflection Worksheet to guide you through seven areas of job satisfaction.
Many of you have morphed into altered versions of yourselves in order to fit comfortably in corporate America. You may not really know yourself anymore. I use the Birkman Method® assessment to dissect your personality and find those areas where you are no longer in line with your authentic self. Most of us who have worked over 20 years have done this to ourselves!
Step 2 – Build your tribe.
Who can you count on for help and support during this transition? Who is going to lift your spirits when you slip and fall?
Build a team around you…and keep in touch with them!
Step 3 – Act on facts, not assumptions.
We often think the grass is greener on the other side of the fence, but when we get there, we find out it’s AstroTurf.
In 2003, I left the high tech industry to teach high school math. I made two flawed assumptions:
- As an engineer who had taught adults all over the world for 20 years, I assumed that school districts would want me to teach math. They did not! They did not want any guy over 40 years of age (likely because we don’t do what we are told)!
- I would be able to get reasonable health insurance for my wife, son, and myself from the school district. NOPE! My out-of-pocket expenses were double my COBRA payment. I stayed with COBRA until I could find another alternative.
You need to turn off assumptions and really research new opportunities.
Step 4 – Learn how to network strategically.
By using social media tools like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, you can target individuals who you need to meet and develop relationships.
Sometimes your best connections will come from people who do not know you from work. When I was looking for a teaching position, my best connector was my chiropractor. She knew a lot of people outside of my normal sphere of contacts.
If you have children, your children’s friends’ parents can be a gold mine of connections. When making a career pivot, you will want to be creative in finding new connections.
Step 5 – Learn to ask for help.
Yes, I am a guy. I do not like asking for directions. But you’re heading into new territory and no one succeeds at a career pivot without others’ help. Set aside your claims to status and your pride in order to reach for something new where you may now be the rookie. This is hard at first, but it gets easier.
When I went off to teach high school math, I was a total novice. I needed to suck it up, admit that I did not know what I was doing, and ask for help. I found a teacher across the hall who would share her lesson plans with me. For an entire year, I stayed two days behind her teaching schedule.
If you follow these five steps, you will have a good chance of being successful when you repurpose your career.
As part of the 100 Days on Jobs for Career Changers, FlexJobs.com and Career Pivot are excited to host a webinar on “5 Steps to Repurpose Your Career.” If you’re wondering how to transition your ideas for a career change into action, this webinar will be a great resource! For more information and how to register Click Here!
This post originally was published on FlexJobs.com.
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