180-Degree career pivot in 6 steps

2 MIN READ | #blog

Did you know that in 2021, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 47 million Americans voluntarily quit their jobs? This record number of workers leaving the workforce has been called the Great Resignation.1 While the Covid-19 pandemic was a turning point for many, and contributed greatly to this exodus, it’s actually the continuation of a longer-term trend of workers voluntarily leaving their jobs for a variety of reasons.

Workers are reassessing what’s important in their lives and careers, and demanding more flexible working conditions, higher pay, and better work-life balance. George Elliot said, “It is never too late to be what you might have been.” While switching professions may seem like a daunting prospect, truth is, a career pivot can be simpler than you think. If you’re dissatisfied with your current job, take time to identify a career that matches your skills, interests, and values.

If you find yourself jaded or unbearably stressed by an unfulfilling job, remember you’re not alone. This is your opportunity to consider trying something new that could give you the professional success and work-life balance you need while also contributing to your community. Follow some advice from career coaches and entrepreneurs to make a smart career pivot.



It’s important to take a career change seriously and to understand why you want to take a radical step such as leaving the law for a creative pursuit or switching from marketing to teaching. Change can be challenging, so you need to be clear about why you want to do it before you can begin to explain to others your pivoting plan. A major life change should be based on more than just disliking your current boss or simple boredom.


It’s essential to recognize the experience, education, and talent you’ve built up in your career and put it in the context of how you can apply these skills to other fields of work. For instance, if as a lawyer you’re excellent at presenting material convincingly in the courtroom, you have the makings of a stellar sales career. If you’re organized, communicate well, have computer skills, and management experience, all those talents can be used in a multitude of careers beyond your current job description.


Now that you’ve got a handle on your skills, you can think about potential careers that would match your thirst for a more meaningful career with your strengths. Think carefully about how you prefer to work, too: Do you like working independently, or as part of a team? Do you thrive in a fast-paced office, or a more low-key environment? Do you want a job with a hybrid work arrangement, or one that allows you to work remotely 100% of the time?


Once you’ve thought about what you would like to do, it’s time to get serious about determining how to get there. Identify people who can help you on your new career path. Talk to former colleagues who already know about your skills and would be willing to help you find a new job and network with people in your desired field to seek advice.


You may need to take a few steps along the way to your ideal job, and you may even need some additional training or education to pivot to a completely new profession. Seek advice from successful people in your preferred career, and figure out how to get the experience you need through classes or an entry-level position. Map out the steps you’ll need to get where you want to be.


Sometimes, though not always, a career pivot requires a step backwards in terms of your position and salary. It’s easier to accept a temporary financial setback or to pay for new training if you’re prepared with plenty of savings and minimal debt. Calculate your monthly expenses (rent, food, clothes, gas, etc.) so you can feel confident that you will meet your regular financial commitments even if you have to take a temporary pay cut to have your dream job.

Above all, be brave. A career pivot is exciting and can be rewarding, but you’ll need to leave fear behind when taking an unknown path into your future.

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1 https://hbr.org/2022/03/the-great-resignation-didnt-start-with-the-pandemic