On a long drive to my office, my mom and I had a long talk about her career at Apple. You see I come from a long line of graphic designers. Both my mom and dad were graphic designers. I went to school for art and then eventually married my favorite person in the world who is also a graphic designer. I am surrounded by creatives! But, the point of the conversation was a 20/20 hind sight kinda conversation. You see as things changed in my mom’s industry of design and tech/pubs, even though she was getting more training to move into a different role at Apple, she eventually got phased out and obsoleted. Oh my goodness! That sounded so depressing! But the lesson was, if she could go back, would she have chosen to pivot in a totally different direction? The short answer was YES, if she had been more aware of what was on the horizon for her niche.
Easier said than done am I right? When you have invested many years into your current profession, whatever it may be, and you are at the top of your game, the thought of a career pivot is furthest from your mind. After all, the idea of “starting over” in a new career is ludicrous when you think of all the invested time and money it took to get to where you are now. But in the many twists and turns life can take as you dance as gracefully as you can, sometimes the music just stops. You now begin to see that this dance is over.
The keys to a graceful career pivot is not only recognizing that change is coming on the horizon of your current profession/role, but to also start planning and getting your “ducks in a row.” Here are some things to keep in mind when considering a career pivot:
- Recognize that change is on the horizon: This can be anything from, industry shifts, change of management, social changes, burn out, increased levels of stress, a personal health issue, personal/ family changes
- Look for careers pivots that inspire you: Learning a new talent and skill can feel daunting, but if it inspires you, it will feel easier.
- Support is key in a major pivot: Of course, in any major shift in life we need our circle of friends and community to help us. Identify who those people or groups are and let them know what you are planning to do. Accept the help that is offered if it fits your needs. Never hesitate to ask for help.
Having pivoted twice and onto my third pivot currently, I can tell you how grateful I am to my family for their support and encouragement. Having many years of experience in my other careers, I can leverage my skill set to make this pivot as smooth as possible for my family and I. I can tell you, the feeling of being scared of the unknown never goes away. All I am left with is trust that it will all work out for the best, and just take the leap. You know what? If I can soar, so will you!
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