Is changing industries the end of the world?

Happy New Year!!! As we dive into the new year and new decade, I thought it fitting to share some notes I had after watching some YouTube videos on making changes in work and career some time back. This is a time that some of us consider making big changes in our lives. Here are the videos my notes came from:

I started my career as an engineer in the Oil and Gas industry in 2008 and spent seven years building equipment for subsea oil extraction. And then I needed a change and did a full pivot to another industry.

I was still moving things, but instead of fluid, I was concepting machines to move products…from boxes of cereal to large truck tires. But it took me a while to feel like I was in the right place or that I was capable of doing great work.

The three videos above were a result of one of those days of doubt when I wasn’t sure that I had made the right choice, and they had quite a bit of wisdom to offer that helped me see that I was in the right place.

Here’s what I learned.

What you’re capable of doing matters more than your title

Your title matters less than your capabilities. Or as Laura Berman Fortgang says:

It’s not the shell that matters, it’s what’s in the egg.

Bottom line, embrace the experiences and ditch the title. This means:

  • Dig deep and figure out the skills you’re using no matter what you end up doing.
  • Have an understanding of your strengths and the environments that encourage you to recruit your strengths to deliver on results vs. the environments that require you to fit into a box.
  • Understand that each unique experience can stand on its own… they don’t need to all be connected to each other to be relevant.

Knowing the skills that you’ve used (and how they drove company success), knowing your strengths, and being able to tell a story of your experiences will help you add value in any environment that you choose to grow into.

Notes on navigating change

  • Change is not a bad thing, and it’s wise to always be open to and ready for change when it comes your way.
  • Changing careers isn’t the end of the world…in fact it has cache because it shows that you’re capable of growing. Why? Because change is another word for growth, a synonym for learning if you will.

And when you’re looking to make a change…

  • Make meaningful connections with people who are currently doing what interests you.
  • Tell the world what you want to do…you never know who’s looking to fill the role that you’re looking for.
  • Ask questions that can tell you more about the role you’re looking into:
    • “How did you arrive at the point in your career that you’re in today?”
    • “If you could do anything what would it be?”
    • “If you could change anything about how you approached your career, what would you change?”

Photo by Christina @ via Unsplash