Some Thoughts on Career Transitions

People call me a career transition expert. It’s not a title that I’ve worn with a badge of honor until recent years. Why? 

Because of what other people thought about my journey.

Silly, I know. But it’s true.

People told me I would never be able to do it. Some said I was crazy to leave the security of XYZ job or industry. Others doubted my ability to pivot from where I was to where I wanted to go.

If people’s expectations are doing the same to you, please try to tune that noise out. If you want to make a change, you owe it to yourself to explore it.

Today, I’m proud to be called a career transition expert and coach.

Here are a few things I’ve learned through the years. I hope they are helpful.

  • Career transitions take work — and it starts with assessing your risk tolerance. 
  • The next critical step is doing an inventory of your skills and experience and figuring out how they can apply to your next chapter.
  • And the biggest thing you need to do eventually (and this might not come quickly so you need to be patient) is to get your story straight.

Let me underscore how important that third bullet is.

You need to know where you want to go and why and be clear about it in your head. Only then can other people help you. And if you’re mid to senior level in your career, it’s people who will help make a career transition or change happen. Period.

Think about it. If you say to me, “I think I want to make a career pivot, but I’m not sure if I should stay in a large pharma company or if I would be better off figuring out how to get into a leadership role in an early-stage company doing more innovative work.”

Can I help you? Sure, I can listen, give you advice, and coach you to help you figure it out. I can even introduce you to people I know who have made that type of transition who may be willing to talk to you.

But I can’t introduce you to anyone else in my network who can help you actually make a move until I am clear on what you really want.

But if you say, “I’ve had a great run in big pharma, and now I’m ready to use my skills and experience to help lead an early-stage company. I’m particularly excited about companies doing innovative work in the diagnostics space.”

Now I’m clear. And what immediately comes to mind is at least 3 people I can introduce you to who can help. Actually, just thought of 2 more.

See the difference?

Bottom line — If you aren’t able to clearly tell someone what you want, they can’t easily help you. This is true for career transitions, and anything else in professional life.

Make it easy for them, and you’ll be amazed how many people are willing to jump in and help.

Some resources from Comvia: