Career Changes at Any Age

Your essential guide to embracing change in your professional and personal life

How Rosie the Riveter inspired Sarah the Pivoter

Does this image inspire any strong feelings in you? If the answer is ‘yes’, then you are not alone. This image of the classic cultural icon, Rosie the Riveter, reminds me of several motivating facts: roles change in times of crises (like World Wars and global pandemics); we need to be adaptive to survive, resilience is everything, and ‘yes’ we can do it.

So, what is a Pivoter?

Whether you are facing a job loss, extended furlough, or an unfulfilling career, you have probably come across the verb, ‘pivot’. What you may not have heard before is the same term being used as a noun, as in, “He’s completely transitioned into a new career; he’s a pivoter”. Stay with me, I will explain.

Everywhere we look, businesses are shifting into new models, individuals are considering midlife career changes, and entrepreneurship is on the rise. A career change at 35, 45, or even 55 is no longer considered ‘out there’: quite the opposite, it is (rightly) to be encouraged. Likewise, students often work with a careers’ change coach to navigate in a new direction from their chosen degree.

I would like to change my career path, what do I do next?

Stop. Breathe. Pivot.

A pivoter is someone who learns how to re-define themselves, repeatedly. Relevant skills include resilience, adaptability, and an ability to set aside ego. It is a mindset that allows for change; especially a willingness to quit old approaches and welcome new challenges. Pivoting isn’t always easy; we should love our new path, or the freedom and lifestyle it affords us because we need to keep going, even when faced with adversity.

Consider the CEO who ensures her business will be here for the next 50 years by cannibalising the offering that company was founded upon. Think of the parent who recently faced a job loss and has no option but to find plan B. Or those that face sickness, loss, or tragedy, but pick themselves up to approach each day with a brave face.

Pivoters are agile, quick to recover from stumbles and falls. They have faith in their ability to steady the ship. They know that no matter how stressful life can be, it’s fairly good – comparatively speaking.

A pivoter knows how to learn and adapt

Pivoters are consistent; they build and stack habits that together form a strong foundation to rely on. These flexible thinkers know that failures are lessons that lead to growth and they create new opportunities because they realise that life does not happen to you, it happens for you.

They are resilient, aware of their environment and emotionally in control of themselves. A pivoter is the captain of their own ship and they re-chart their course as storms arise and they find themselves in unfamiliar waters. They manage their energy and do not allow outside influences to distract or emotionally charge them; they do not allow the mutinous crew to control the ship. Pivoters know it will not be easy, but they are comfortable with being uncomfortable.

How to adapt your mindset

We are not what we do. We are how we behave. A pivoter lives life according to his or her values. They know that control is an illusion and struggling against the current will waste precious energy. How do you get back to the ship? Sometimes you have to let go and build a new one. Remember, the glass is always refillable.

Nobody knows what the world will look like 20 years from now, but we know it will not be the same, so why should you be?

So, how will you define yourself? Are you ready to become a Pivoter? Contact me to take your first steps.