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How To Pivot With Purpose

Submitted by amanda.dumsch@… April 29, 2024
Image of a person typing on a laptop. Photo by Christin Hume on Unsplash

Career pivots are becoming increasingly common. 52% of Gen Z’ers and Millennials have reported making a career pivot and they are more likely to do so than previous generations. While career pivots are becoming the norm, they are still very unsettling on a personal level.  Often changing career paths means entering the unknown to hopefully pursue a more fulfilling life and use of your energy and skill sets. 

If you are feeling unfulfilled in your current work path and are thinking about a change, first take some time to understand your why

Ask yourself these big questions:

  • Why did you choose your current industry/profession in the first place? Be honest. Don’t shy away from hard truths like familial or societal expectations.

  • Why don’t you feel your job is the best match for you? Assess the misalignments across three categories: skill set, interests, and values.


  • Why haven’t you made the change yet? Confront the thoughts keeping you up at night–your biggest fears, assumptions, and limiting beliefs.

Take your time and write out your responses. Reflect on these personal observations and chat about them with trusted career mentors or career counselors

Once your internal reflection is underway, you may also feel inclined to start taking some external action. Here are some steps to get started:

1.Identify what energizes you and what drains you. 
Start really paying attention to your attention and energy levels throughout the day. We all have our own natural circadian rhythm, but is your energy impacted by the tasks on your to-do list? Likely yes! 

Reflect on the past month and think of two or three times when you felt like you were really thriving – times when you felt fully engaged, productive, inspired, and fulfilled.  Now, consider the following:

- What were you doing that gave you energy in these instances?
- What skills, mindsets, and strengths did you draw on?
- Do these examples resonate with your core values?

List 3-5 examples of work and activities that generally excite you more than exhaust you and vice versa. You can either look for new ideas and solutions to do more of what fuels you in your current career path or you can take this information to help guide your decision-making about your career pivot and next steps.  

2. Use job crafting to design new potentialities. 
Job crafting is a process that involves assessing and changing the characteristics of a job to better align with your skills, goals, and personal needs. Ask yourself: What are your ideal job tasks, interpersonal interactions, and perceptions of work?  Based on your findings, are there potential professions that closely align with your goals? Or, are there ways to make your current path more fulfilling? 

3. Find relatable reference points and role models.
Research others within your target career path. Hint: LinkedIn can be a treasure trove for discovery here! Study their education, certifications, experiences, and skills. Note any commonalities among people and any prerequisites that might be needed to succeed in this career path. Finding aspirational role models (even far outside of your network) can help provide clues for working your way into a new path. 

Successful career pivots rarely happen overnight. They often take patience, adaptability, and resilience. While progress can be hard to track, try to keep your momentum going by having informational interviews. Aim for at least one a week with network connections who will help you learn more about a field or help introduce you to others. Additionally, take some time to invest in certifications or courses that might be necessary for you to pivot. This will not only keep you updated on skills, but will also help connect you with like-minded professionals. 

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