Step 4 – Locate “Travel Companions”

This is the fourth 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 am sharing some thoughts about a process for adopting an “orienteering” process as you move forward. 

Read earlier posts:

Step 1 – Be Where You Are

Step 2 – Pick One

Step 3 – Reach out with an “ask”


Step 4 – Locate “Travel Companions”

Networking is hands-down the most important thing for the orienteering process (now and for the rest of your professional life). If you have been exposed to some terrible networking, or some terrible networkers, remember: networking can be affirming and generous and generative!  Be the kind of networker that you would want to interact with.

Be curious, be generous. 

You have been networking for as long as you have been in the academic context, but we just don’t call it networking in academia. Participating in conferences, pulling together edited volumes, organizing research collaborations – the “peer” in peer review, your classmates, your professors, prospective and current students – everything that you have done thus far has pulled together a community who know you and care about the things that you know and care about and they may well continue to do so….


In expanding your career horizons, you will likely need to expand your network to include other people who will be able to introduce you to other opportunities that will shape your career in new directions. Keep the old ties – these important connections have buoyed you as you have buoyed them over the years, and as you replicate this process and find connections in other domains, you will only become better resources for one another in future.  To use the language of LinekdIn, many of your “first degree connections” – people you already are connected to – can help you connect to people they know – your “2nd degree connections” – which will have you well on your way! 

Networking groups / communities to consider joining:

Beth Duckles’ Open Post Academics

Ethnobreakfast – many connections to user research / tech jobs in the Bay Area

Linguists Outside Academia – a largely dormant google group (but there are 541 folks subscribed, soooooo)

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