The 10 Laws of Career Reinvention
Max spent 20 years climbing the career ladder as a pharmaceutical sales rep. He landed major contracts, won top awards and earned hefty pay checks. But something felt wrong. Max couldn’t quite put his finger on the problem, but his body seemed to be sending him distress signals. His energy plummeted during the workday. He developed headaches throughout the week, which subsided during the weekends. He occasionally felt heartburn.
His energy spiked on the evenings he coached a kid’s soccer league. He bubbled with ideas on how to increase ticket sales and find corporate sponsors for the team. Someone suggested that Max leave his pharmaceutical job to run a children’s soccer league full-time. But Max had an arsenal of excuses:
“The pharmaceutical industry is prestigious.”
“I’ve been doing this for more than 20 years, and I’m good at it.”
“I’m just having a short-lived lack of enthusiasm for my job right now. I can make it work.”
Still, his energy levels tanked during the workday, and his headaches continued.
Two years later, Max was laid off from his pharmaceutical job. The layoff forced him to make a career change, and Max discovered he felt far less stressed in his new industry. He realized he should have listened when his gut told him to coach soccer instead of selling painkillers. His self-doubts cost him two years.
This story comes from The 10 Laws of Career Reinvention by Pamela Mitchell, a practical how-to guide written by a Harvard graduate who left her demanding Wall Street finance job to work in the entertainment industry, and who later left her glamorous, jet-setting entertainment job to become a career reinvention coach.
Her snippets of wisdom include:
Accept Reality – Invent (or reinvent) your career based on today’s reality, whether you like it or not. “Feeling resentful about disappearing pensions won’t bring them back,” Mitchell says. “Being nostalgic for the old models of the workforce won’t help you find your way through new ones.”
Consider Your Values – “Careers and jobs are delivery devices for the kind of life you hope to lead,” she says. “They are a conduit for becoming the kind of person you want to be.” If you want to be intimately involved in the day-to-day affairs of your children’s lives, for example, don’t take a job that involves frequent out-of-state travel.
Think Across Disciplines – Just because you’ve always been in the engineering field or the media industry doesn’t mean you need to stay there. Build connections across industries. If each industry is its own country, your skills are your passport.
Find Your Flow – Certain activities elevate you into a state of “flow,” a state in which time slips away while you’re completely absorbed in activity. What puts you there?
What The World Needs – What should exist in the world, but doesn’t yet? Is there something the world needs to eat or do or buy or read or hear?
Ignore Coolness – Just because a career holds popular allure doesn’t mean that it’s right for you. Leading a disaster relief team in Haiti sounds adventurous. But if you can’t sleep on a cot, deal with mosquitoes and handle the lack of air-conditioning, it might not be the right job for you.
Don’t Base It on Fantasy – The job you’re dreaming about might be nothing like your fantasy. When the author cinched international business deals, someone told her, “Wow. You get to fly first-class to Tokyo!” That’s true. But she also perused hundreds of pages of contracts. Her experience of Tokyo was limited to airports and hotels. Her houseplants were withering. The reality was nothing like the fantasy.
DO Base It on Fulfillment – Rather than looking for glitz, glamour or a paradise job, look for something that would be authentically fulfilling, “with all the ups and downs, messiness and trade-offs that being human entails.”
Give Yourself Permission – As kids, we’re taught to ask permission before we do anything. “Can I go to the bathroom?” “Can I have this cookie?” As adults, we have to give ourselves permission to reinvent our careers. Otherwise, we’ll create excuses and hold ourselves back.
Don’t Agonize Over Decisions – Your gut feeling is often the best one.
Should You Read It?
This Book is For You If: You want to make a career change, regardless of your age and experience level. It could also be helpful for recent graduates who want to work in a field that’s unrelated to their major.
This Book is NOT For You If: You want a promotion at your current job or you want an identical job in the same industry at a different company. If that’s the case, you’re better off reading a book about how to lobby for a promotion, polish your resume or ace a job interview.
Source: Business Insider