Are you putting your career change on hold because, well, it’s a holiday?
The truth is, holidays can be the BEST time of year to activate the most powerful career change agent: serendipity.
Don’t worry – this article isn’t about to disappear in a cloud of woo-woo. Research on career change shows that the traditional linear model rarely works.
You’ve probably been encouraged to follow that model: figure out what you want, find job titles that match and go hunting. The truth is, most of us have more complex bundles of aptitudes and attitudes. Job titles can vary across companies, industries and even time frames.
The Truth About Career Change
Researchers who study careers find that nearly all career change comes from serendipity – chance encounters that happen while you are pursuing other goals. The more you spend time with strangers, the more likely you’ll encounter someone who can give you the perfect word of information at the right time.
How Meeting Strangers Will Help Your Career Change
Perspective: When you’re attending a party or meeting a stranger on a plane, you get access to viewpoints you would ordinarily never see. You might be surprised to discover how your field is regarded by people in other industries. You might encounter someone who took a big chance and learned lessons from success or failure.
Practice: If you are considering a new career or a business, practice telling someone,, “Here’s what I do.” Then pay attention to how you feel as you make these statements. Are you confident and proud? Hesitant? A little embarrassed?
These feelings can be important clues to your success as you change jobs, careers or industries. I noticed myself that it’s time to change careers when I found myself wishing I could introduce myself in some other way.
Reaction: Watch the reactions of others as you share your story. Do their eyes glaze over? Do they seem impressed by an achievement you take for granted?
Of course, pay attention to your own reactions as well. How do you feel when you hear about the accomplishments of a software engineer? An accountant? A professional artist? What parts of their stories resonate with you and what makes your eyes glaze over?
My own story is a good illustration, For the last several years I’ve focused on my online marketing business, especially copywriting. My first business was related to careers and career change; as I learned the Internet, I began to hep others.
But I couldn’t give up my passion for careers and career change. Whenever I meet people I tend to interrogate them about their careers, career choices and career plans. (I try to disguise this interaction as pleasant small talk, but nobody’s fooled.)
When I revealed that I have a career website, my new acquaintances would say, “No wonder you seemed awfully interested in my career.”
Aha. Click. And time to put my career website on the front burner.