Archive for March, 2009

Reviewing Reinvention

Friday, March 20th, 2009

Reinvention seems to be all the rage lately.

Not surprising! So many people in transition begin to look at unmet career desires, career disillusion or poor fit. Job loss often leads to an awareness of what you don’t want, and a belief that some other career/life will offer it.  And for many, the idea of pursuing something very different appears to be more appealing than networking, interviewing and “selling” themselves.
If you are in transition or anticipating one, this may seem a perfect time to consider these questions:

“I wonder what else is out there?”

“Shouldn’t I do something I am passionate about?”

“Is this a good time to go into the not for profit arena and do meaningful work?”

“What other alternatives to my current occupation might I consider?”

Many of my clients over the years have considered reinventing themselves. They spend countless months researching, information interviewing and considering alternatives only to boomerang back to their original occupation. The challenge for them was, never having considered what else they wanted to do, they did not have experience, expertise and exposure needed to move into fields of interest. They found that forging a search with few connections and having to create a compelling “story” was much more challenging and time consuming than they dreamed.

However, the self assessment and exploration was not wasted.  Once having gotten the desire to explore out of their system, some felt more free to re-commit to their original career, refresh their enthusiasm, or redesign their roles or functions more in line with rediscovered interests or needs.  And over time, having taken a position that built on their contacts and capabilities, many of have later been  successful in evolving into their dream occupations without being pressured by needing to re-establish themselves before their severance or savings ran out.  If you are considering reinventing yourself, here are 10 additional questions to consider:

1. If circumstances hadn’t changed in your career, would you be considering reinventing yourself?

2. What are you passionate about, beside your current career?

3. Do you know anyone who has a career you would kill for?

4. What do they do and how did they get there?

5. What did you want to be/do when you were a child? A teen? In college?

6. What caused you to go a different route?

7. What areas of expertise can you leverage in your reinvented life?

8. What can you offer and who needs it?
9. What do you need to learn or develop?

10. How long do you want to spend in exploring, evaluating and emerging reinvented?

Then, when you begin to explore alternatives, be realistic about what trade offs you are willing to make.

Successful re-inventors I have worked with realize that they need to have support systems, financial protection, a strong vision and desire and a courageous commitment to jump into the breach.  They are willing to make sacrifices or embrace a new community, new career identity, new way of living.  They build a platform to change by building connections, filling in the experience gaps, garnering financial support or making necessary adjustments.  Others have been fortunate in getting a retirement package that enabled them to fully assess and explore, develop relationships and visibility through volunteering or interning.  They have the luxury to pursue their dreams, passions or unfinished career business  while maintaining their life styles.

Reinvention is not an alternative to the rigors of job search.  It is an exciting and arduous path. The most secure way to reinvent is to plan and build toward it.