One of the biggest challenges of any career transition is getting started–especially when you are confronted with shifting priorities such as family, financial pressure, or simply the overwhelming feeling that your talents could be better used elsewhere. In the words of Taoist Philosopher Lao Tzu, "the journey of a thousand miles begins with one step."
But how do you start to make a career move to a new job or industry when you don't have any role models?
I thought of this last night as I watched the DVD of Julie and Julia. As I too, am a blogger and live in New York, Julie Powell's cooking and writing project inspires me. But I tried modeling my life after a heroine years ago (I picked Anne of Green Gables for her work ethic, resiliency, and ability to fix awkward situations), and I discovered that–ultimately–it didn't work for me in the real world and especially not in Manhattan. My take-away: It's much easier to find a live mentor and role model for help in navigating a transition, and you can learn a lot from studying the past predicaments of individuals whose motivations are similar to your own. Applying life lessons from individuals who made a transition in another economic climate or culture can get very messy; it's like taking the directions from how to cook muffins and trying to make crunchy cookies instead with the same ingredients.
Enter Alexandra Levit's new book, New Job, New You. It’s full of extended conversations with real people who’ve made career transitions, and is a great way to learn what worked—and what didn’t work—for others in transition. In writing the book, she sought out stories of people who were neither career rock stars before their transition – nor “exceptionally lucky.” The result: Over 21 profiles of “real people” who you can learn from as you figure out the beginning steps in your own career journey, followed up with a concrete road map that outlines steps you can take to make your next move.
Check it out, and let me know if I can help you get started with your next career move.
Cross-posted on Career Hub.