Friday, 5 September 2014

Learning from career u-turns

This past Labour Day The Tyee, an independent, online magazine based out of B.C., launched a four-part series called Career 180. Each article in the series profiles someone who has made a major shift in their career. By major shift, I mean they went from doing one thing to doing something completely different, like going from running a wireless products company to opening a bakeshop, from being a media relations manager to apprenticing as a heavy-duty mechanic. In each case, there was something that precipitated the change, such as being laid off or personal health problems. Bruce Grierson, who studied and wrote about career change in U-Turn (2008), is quoted throughout the articles. He found that while a lay-off or other factor (outside of one's control, I'd add) can often be a catalyst for career change, it is not the cause. Rather, a person must be 'emotionally ready' to make a change. "U-turns happen because the tuners are ready for them to happen," he says.

Even though each of the articles profiles someone who had been working in one career for an extended period of time before transitioning to another, I think the series offers something for students who have limited work experience or who are just starting their careers. If you are a regular reader of this blog, you know that the approach to career development we take at CAPS is one that recognizes the significant role that chance plays in people's lives and careers. Talk to family, friends, acquaintances about how they got to where they are and you’ll soon see a trend of people’s careers being shaped by unplanned, random and unpredictable events and encounters. 

So we recommend taking a 'planned happenstance' approach to managing your career. This means being open to new opportunities, thinking about and following your curiosities, reflecting on chance events and encounters and asking questions like, 'What possibilities does this create?' By being open, you will discover career opportunities you never knew existed and maybe even create your own.

No comments:

Post a Comment