3 Things That Helped Me in My Career Transition
A career change and relocation for my husband led to unexpected career changes for me. I transitioned from teaching in a brick and mortar building to teaching online. This led to an immediate need to address my skillset as a teacher. As I pursued learning and growth in an effort to add to my skillset, opportunities to help train other teachers in embracing the changes that faced them came my way. These opportunities were exciting, but again led to the need to address my skillset as I faced a transition in working with elementary learners to working with adult learners.
There are three things that helped most in my career change and transition. If you are facing a career transition, I’d like to grow in each of these areas:
Personal Digital Learning Network (PDLN) - Finding other online teachers helped me learn and grow in the best practices of the industry. Early on, this meant finding teachers via Twitter. Now I’m a part of several Facebook Groups and communities of teachers that are both in traditional classroom settings and have moved into different parts of education similar to me. Finding these groups of people makes for a powerful network when a question arises or help is needed.
Mentor - Finding a career mentor was essential for me in facing some of the changes that I never expected. For example, as I faced transitions mid-career with our family’s relocation, I realized that the interview process was going to be something that I would be visiting. I had not faced this for process for a decade. My career mentor helped coach me through preparing for an interview with practice questions and scenarios.
Time - This may sound simple, but it was one of the hardest things for me. I had to give myself the time to learn and grow and allow others to accept the changes I was going through as well. Initially, changing careers, seemed only to lead to dead ends. I was told that I simply did not have enough experience in a setting outside of the classroom. Allowing myself the time to continue pursuing the changes and continue to expand my skillset was important.
While I write this, I am still actively involved in education. I am no longer in the classroom on a day to day basis, but instead in a different role in which I support teachers. If I did not actively pursue learning and growing with my PDLN, coaching with a career mentor, and allowing the grace of time, getting to this point would have been nearly impossible and discouraging.
As it is, I’ve grown and learned a lot along the way. For anyone else that may be facing a career change for any number of reasons, I want to encourage you to pick one thing from the list above and begin pursuing the changes associated with it today. Below are three actionable steps for each of the categories that helped me in my career transition.
Get on social for career change. Identify one industry leader in the industry you are looking to grow in or transition to and follow that leader. A great resource for helping with this is the Don’t Get Left Behind course offered by The Organic Learner.
Take a look at your friends, colleagues, and acquaintances. Find one that appears to be successful in the career path you are looking to pursue. Ask them to lunch or coffee and prepare a list of questions about how they got to the point you want to get to. If they’re open to the opportunity, ask if they would be willing to help mentor you through your transition with a weekly or monthly call, coffee, or lunch. Often times, people are willing to help, they only need to be asked.
Learning and growing takes time. Just as it is important to look at a financial budget carefully, it is important to consider the time budget that we have as well. Make sure you schedule time intentionally learning something new each day. These may be a half hour to get through an online tutorial or certification program.