Need to Reinvent Your Career?

If not now, you might still at some point in your working life either need or want to reinvent your career. When/if that happens to you, do you have a plan for accomplishing it? Much like fire or flood insurance you hope you will never need, a career management plan that takes the need for reinventing your career into account makes excellent sense.

I did that myself a number of years ago and was lucky (?) enough to start working on it while I still had a good job–no worrying about how I would pay the bills tomorrow if I failed to find a new direction or opportunity soon. From clients and other people I’ve talked with over the years, the alternative (no preparation) is a mess–you don’t want to “go there”!

Tips to Reinvent Your Career

An excellent article on Fast Company’s website offers a few practical tips you probably will want to consider for your own situation. “Four Steps to Reinventing Your Career”, by Kaihan Krippendorff, is worth reading all the way through. However, here in a nutshell are the four tips Krippendorff offers:

  1. Clarify the situation. What has changed that requires a reinvention?
  2. Assess your assets….What assets do you want to protect and leverage?
  3. Listen for needs….What needs are calling you?
  4. Define your strategy. To move into action, we need a clear set of priorities….What are your priorities…?

Pitfalls and Mistakes to Avoid in Career Reinvention

I have no idea how many possible pitfalls and/or mistakes you could actually make while trying to reinvent your career, but I’ll bet it’s more than a few! While I can’t tell you how to avoid them all, I do have a few ideas to suggest. For starters:

  • Don’t wait until your “house is burning” before you try to grab some fire insurance. The word “proactive” has become seriously overused, but it’s the only one I can think of at the moment that hits the nail on the head. Ask yourself, “What’s the worst that can happen in my career? Am I prepared to deal with it if it comes?” Then start scoping-out possible actions to either prevent or minimize potential career disaster.
  • Build a network of trusted resources–advisors, colleagues, family, whoever else seems good for this–that you can consult regarding things you should be aware of and consider carefully in your career management plan, specifically with regard to career reinvention.
  • Assume nothing! Just because everything is proceeding smoothly at the moment and your career looks solid, it’s not wise to assume nothing will change down the road. For example, you might find yourself in “burnout” because of the demands of your current career or you could develop a strong desire to find a career that lets you enrich people’s lives more than you can where you are now.

Change and Career Reinvention Discomfort

Change often causes us to feel uncomfortable, and a need to reinvent your career is no different in that regard. This is especially true if you are currently comfortable with the status of your career and don’t want to change, but it’s even true if you’re not very comfortable now. “Better the devil you know than the one you don’t” pretty much covers it. You might need more than a little courage to take the necessary first steps, but that’s okay. You’ll probably find it a bit easier if you start when you’re not under the gun to make a change; just don’t let that sense of comfort and lack of urgency lull you into complacence!

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