Career Pivots. Career Transitions. Work-Life Balance |

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Approaching a career pivot with a velvet glove and understanding that balance may be a myth in the career triangle.

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About 15 years ago, I decided I wanted to leave recruiting. I wanted to become a therapist in private practice. I was going to apply to graduate school. Eventually, I got in. I looked at different programs. I went for an MSW. I was gung ho about being a therapist and I met my wife to be there. As a result, I put that aspiration on hold because I realized what was even more important to me was becoming married, buy a house, having a child . . . All that sort of stuff. So, I shelved it and years later, it felt like a time where I could do it and began a process of transition from being headhunter to career coaching.

I mentioned this story for couple of reasons. The first one is sometimes the path to a transition is not smooth and you have to do the right thing at that time and not force the issue.

I really wanted to be a psychotherapist and, at the same time, at that moment in time, what was more important to me was family. When I made the transition, I didn't want to do it instantly because I had a great income going and I was successful. So, what I did and decided to engage in the process for the transition, I spoke to coaches. I tried to get a sense of what it was like professionally to be in the field. I didn't participate in coaching calls but I really try to take some time to learn.

I attended a school in order to learn the basics of coaching. I thought I would due a life coaching gig but, ultimately, much of what I do starts off with career coaching, and then, from there, transitions into leadership and executive coaching. That’s because, fundamentally, in search, you're involved with all these elements if you our doing the job correctly. I mentioned this because, for you, considering a transition, a career pivot, there's no linear path to change. Often, when I coach people (I have quite a few videos about transition. I think that they’re in career change and there are different parts to this) but when I coach people about doing a pivot, I encourage them to take time, to try and do things on the side in order to test out what the career is like because the last thing you want to do is to give up what you currently have, as miserable as it may be making you feel, and, then, from there, find that yourself in another profession that's not satisfactory, right?

Thus, for you. I want to encourage you to try something on the side first. I say it that way because (I’ll use myself as an example) part of the coaching program I did is they want you to work with 8 to 10 people per class coaching them so that you get that experience of being a coach and not just having book learning. Great approach. It was very helpful for me in my work.

I will also say that, for most of us, when you think of career, there is a triangle of options that exists. I say triangle because there are really three options. There is job satisfaction as one arm. There's lifestyle. There is money.

In looking at the triangle, in almost all cases, there's some in imbalance. So, when you change careers, when you transition into the new profession, you probably or going to find that something is missing. Like, if you go from for-profit to nonprofit, salaries tend to be lower, right? You can't walk in and expect to command your Wall Street salary at a nonprofit unless you or running the program and, even then, most people wind up taking a cut to do that.

In terms of work-life balance, you may be in a career where you are working easily and smoothly and there's no real challenge to you, but you go to a profession with more demands that challenges you more, you are going to work more. It tends to be something out of balance in the equation. I say this just so you or not surprised as you start to explore options.

You may find money is a variable; you may find time is a variable I hope you don’t find your work satisfaction is the issue because why or you making the change if you're going to a dissatisfying career just for the money or just for the time.

I’ll just say that you should try out different positions and opportunities or options by doing it part-time or by volunteering for the organization, even if it's a for profit firm. See if you can offer yourself up and your services to do stuff on the side so that, in this way, you can see what it's like.

You can interact with people and get a sense of what the pressures are so that there are no surprises. Yippee!”Surprises, I've discovered in my work in recruiting, are rarely good. Now that I do coaching, as I have for quite a few years, I’ll simply say that surprises are rarely good with career transitions either.

No one suddenly goes, “you know, just to give you 40 more hours of work per week,” and people go, “YIPPEE!” It’s a bad surprise, right?

So, take time. Research. Try things on the side. Ask questions. Continue doing informational interviews for other things that you're curious about and don't just lock in on one.

Often people do a bungee jump into a new profession. That is, they have the idea and they quit and they dive wholeheartedly into the pool and come up you hitting the bottom pretty quickly because they don't have the financial reserves to prepare them for this change.

Make sure things are in alignment. Bungee jumps can lead to catastrophes, right? I’ll just simply say you need allies throughout this. If you need an ally through this transition, I’d love to help you. Reach out to me by connecting with me on LinkedIn at Mention that you saw this. It just lets me know that what I do has an effect. I’ll also say that once were connected, message me. Tell me that you're interested in career transition coaching. I look forward to hearing from you.

Hope you have a great day. Take care


Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a career and leadership coach who worked as a recruiter for more than 40 years. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 1200 episodes, “Job Search Radio,” “and his newest show, “No BS Coaching Advice” and is a member of The Forbes Coaches Council.

Are you interested in 1:1 coaching, interview coaching, advice about networking more effectively, how to negotiate your offer or leadership coaching? Connect with me on LinkedIn. Then message me to schedule an initial complimentary session.

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