Pivoting Your Career

Ok, I won’t deny it – I hate that phrase too, but it is “super-hot right now” to quote my bestie, even if she is usually talking about herself. Pivoting in every form seems to be the topic de jour since the pandemic began, but people have been changing careers and the direction in their businesses and life since well, since business began really. Admittedly, our grandparents had less choice, and they had that anomaly called “a job for life”.

These days, we have so much access to the world and the opportunities all over it, that staying in the same role for life, is counter-intuitive and probably near impossible. With all the technological advances we have made in the last 15 years alone – in 2006 we didn’t have decent internet on our phones, never mind 4k cameras – now, in 2021, we can take on the world in ways that have never been possible before.

For example, when I was growing up, only the best journalists or authors had their work published, now anyone anywhere can write and publish anything they like, proof-read or not (this has certainly silenced a few overly critical English teachers for sure). Whether or not that is a good thing, only you can decide, after all everyone’s a critic.

Fantastically, we can do thousands upon thousands of inexpensive courses from the comfort of our homes, without amassing ludicrous sums of student debt and we can just as easily change our minds about those courses if they don’t fit expectations or needs. We can learn to code for free (thanks YouTube) and then find that it’s not the right match for us and move on to video editing instead, without investing 3-4 years and thousands of (insert the applicable currency here). As an avid lifelong student, this delights me in so many ways because it means nothing is unknowable or that the knowledge isn’t available, in many cases for free.

Because of the nature of technological progress and the countless, growing opportunities available to us pivoting your career needn’t be difficult or expensive, but there are certainly some considerations to be had. In fact, pivoting in any area of your life will be combined with a great deal of introspection and some experimentation. In the first instance, you need to ask yourself if it is a pivot you are looking for or a complete change.

Pivoting is when you make a change to what you are already doing, like going from perm to contract or vice versa, or moving from BI Data Engineer to a Java Engineer or from Retail Bank to Commercial Bank. The urge to pivot can come when you are doing really well in your career, but you’re just not feeling challenged anymore or you’ve hit a plateau. Or when you’ve been made redundant due to company reorganisation or downsizing or similar.

Whereas a complete change could be moving from Senior Management functions in Banking to becoming an HR specialist for small to medium-sized businesses, or a Calligrapher for weddings

I am multi-passionate when it comes to my career, so I have both pivoted and completely changed career multiple times, I have also studied extensively for possible career changes that I then did not pursue.

What positives can you build on?

Consider what is working well for you in your current career or within your business, which bits do you really love and want to carry forward, what are your related strengths? What are your transferable skills? What is your pivot strategy?

What negatives can you turn around?

Which bits of your career or business do you really dislike? There’s no point going off to work for yourself if you are not prepared to do the marketing and sales that will bring you the income. Where are your weaknesses? What will you need to brush up on?

Use your intuition

Trust your intuition – I’m not trying to be fluffy with your career, I’m simply emphasising that no-one knows you and what you want as well as you do. It is often said that you should listen to your gut/ heart because they already know what they want and there is a certain truth to that, you know what you long for, you may not know why but you know what.

Nurture your network

Brush up on your communication and networking skills, the pandemic has really had an impact on networking events and people’s ability to network with strangers. If you are going to pivot your career, you are going to need allies who you can reach out to, who can assist your career transition. Additionally, you need to know what your unique selling point (USP) is and practice delivering it in a succinct way. You need your network to know you are making a change, when you are ready to do so.

Do your research

Do your research on similar roles available in the general market and determine what skills or knowledge you will need to develop to succeed in that role. Research the companies who are hiring people doing the role you want to do. Reach out to their recruitment team or hiring managers. If you have all the required skills and knowledge, then you will need to alter your CV/ resumé to suit the role you are going to be applying for.

Fix your fear

It is ok to feel fear related to a pivot, change is a major cause of anxiety and it often keeps people stuck in roles or situations they hate because they feel inertia set in and cannot take the necessary action. Fear is normal but it should not prevent you from taking the required actions. Remember, you know more than you think, and you have more skills than you give yourself
credit for.

Next Steps

If you know you need to pivot your career or change it completely but don’t know how or where to begin, please get in touch for a discovery call and I can show you how I can assist you in gaining clarity and a firm action plan. If you are not quite ready to make the change but have some burning questions, check out my “Career Evaluator” to help you get some answers to your burning questions.

Leave a Reply