This is the second in our Career Pivot Series – five ideas for engaging transition.
I’ve been hearing from lots of folks lately who are navigating career change and transitions, so I thought I would share some thoughts about a process for adopting an “orienteering” process as you move forward.
Step Two – Pick One
Think of the research that we did in Step 1 as being like a literature review. Now, you are ready for some analysis, locating yourself within the conversation. This exploration likely showed you what is missing and where you fit in. How is your approach to tackling these challenges similar to / different from the existing ones? How will you extend/apply/challenge the extant ways of doing things? In figuring out where you fit, you can also begin to assess degree of fit. How will I be misunderstood/my training be underestimated? How will this feel (day to day)? What will I need to learn? How will I need to adapt?
Pick one just to start with.
By concentrating initially on one of all the possible paths you might take, you help yourself by managing overwhelm, focusing instead on getting your bearings, becoming deeply knowledgeable about specific worlds of work.
If you simply can’t pick one, maybe try three as Bill Burnett and Dave Evans describe in Designing Your Life. They ask you to come up with three entirely different ideas for what your future might look like, and then spend a couple days inhabiting the reality of each one so that you get an embodied sense for what it would really feel like for you inhabit this possible future.
NB: You might be feeling a sense of loss at this stage. Many career navigators with whom I have worked report that in choosing to focus on one thing, they experience a sense of loss of all of the other possibilities / opportunities that might have / could have / should have been pursued. If you are experiencing this, remind yourself that nothing is lost. The things that you are choosing are just the things you are exploring now. Keep a notebook (or file on your computer) to remind you of all of the things that you have found which interest you. There may well be ways of combining things. OR:
- you may well find at the end of this process, that you go right back to your current job, but this time with a much deeper understanding of your WHY
- you might find that you land on a job that pays the bills but leaves you time and energy to pursue other passions on the side,
- you may choose to focus in the short term on some passions, picking up with the next ones later.
For more on managing multiple interests, read my review of Emilie Wapnick’s How to Be Everything.
And ultimately, if you find that you just can’t stop thinking about one of the things that you have left to the side for now, consider whether that needs to be given consideration of a thing to pursue right now.
But do pick one!!!
If you put yourself in the shoes of those with whom you are going to be talking with now (see next step), having done the work of selection helps them be able to help you! When someone asks “what are you looking for?” you can give them one specific answer, and while it may not be the whole answer, and it may not be true forever – it is true today and that’s enough for now.
Most importantly, it is actionable (both for you and for them).