Mid-career transitions – times when we choose to change our career track – can be incredibly hard. Not the least because as we do this, we lose a part of our identity. In the in-between phase, we can no longer define who we are.
And in that, there is a huge sense of loss.
This NPR Hidden Brain podcast demonstrates this touchingly through the story of Maya Shankar – concert violinist who lost her ability to play, and her identity, with an injury (link in comments).
And while this may sound extreme, the sense of loss can be equally profound when we know we need to do something different with our career, but have no idea what.
So how do we reinvent?
Research, and my own experience through my transition and supporting others, shows a few seemingly simple steps can help:
1. Keep an open mind. Don’t foreclose possibilities in a rush for closure
2. Look for data in all your activities. Use engagement and energy as barometers to figure out what to explore further
3. Talk to people with backgrounds different from yours
4. Try small experiments. You never know where you may strike gold
5. Find a neutral space or person with whom to work through your thoughts and experiences
Have you made a career shift? What helped?