Career Pivot When in Crisis, Is a Bad Idea
When you are in crisis mode it is often one of the worst times to make big career decisions.
I was contacted by a 50+ year woman this last week about the uncertainty in her career. She had spent 15-20 years in a dying industry, print media, and had been working on pivoting her way out of it for a while.
She had transitioned her print media sales and marketing skills into a completely different industry and had held a variety of full-time and contract positions. All of these positions came to an end due to the business failing or the function being outsourced overseas.
Then the triple whammy hit
- She lost her job due to outsourcing
- Her fiancé’s home was flooded by one of the recent hurricanes
- Her impending marriage was postponed due to the chaos caused by the hurricane
With all of this going on, she was definitely in crisis mode. She was sick of what she was doing and had no idea what to do next.
She asked me if she should take a bold step and move into a totally new direction? She did not know what direction but just a new one.
My response was NO!
Moments of Clarity
This woman was experiencing multiple instances of moments of clarity. Moments of Clarity are wonderful events to reflect on to understand what is really important to you in your life. When these compound on one another and they are all negatives (not all moments of clarity are negative) then it is easy to go into crisis mode.
When we are in crisis mode, this is usually a bad time to make big career decisions.
Career decisions in the 2nd half of life should be done thoughtfully. It is very easy to suffer from what I call MSU (Make Stuff Up) disorder when we are in crisis.
Maslow Hierarchy of Needs
Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is often portrayed in the shape of a pyramid with the largest, most fundamental needs at the bottom and the need for self-actualization and self-transcendence at the top. – Wikipedia
In order to fulfill the higher needs, you need to have the lower level needs met. You will need to have enough food to eat, a dry safe, place to sleep and a sense of belonging.
It is only when you have the bottom 2 or 3 levels fulfilled before you want to take on a Career Pivot.
Get a Job Like You Had Before
I told her that she needed to get out of crisis mode first. The way to do that was to find a job, a steady income and safe place to live. The key was to think of this as a 1 or 2-year gig.
Similar to the what I wrote about in my last post, Find a Problem to Solve. That Will Lead to a Job, she needed to do a good job but not get invested into it. She was fearful that if she took a job like before, she would get absorbed into it and never make time to find what fulfills her. In other words, she will eventually work herself into crisis again.
Find an Accountability Partner
I told her to find an accountability partner that she can check in with on a weekly basis. This will help her keep her next job in focus and not let it suck her in.
This is no different than a study or a work out partner. Find someone who is willing to hold you accountable. You might have to pay them. This might be seeing a psychologist or a life coach.
Stair Step Out
In Taylor Pearson’s book, The End of Jobs: Money, Meaning and Freedom Without the 9-To-5 Taylor talks about stair-stepping to the next thing. That is to keep your day job but start a side endeavor that you can grow. When the side endeavor grows large enough to provide you an income you step out of your day job.
The first step is to figure out what that side endeavor might be.
Get Out of Crisis Mode First
Sometimes we need to make compromises and return to jobs or careers that we want to leave in order to create the platform to assist us to move on.
Making big career decisions when you are in crisis is a bad thing.
Have you done this? How did it turn out?
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