Before You Change Jobs, Ask Yourself These 3 Things

2 min read
Jan 20, 2017

career pivots

So you’re thinking you and your current responsibilities are just about done with each other. Maybe you feel like you need more of a challenge. Maybe you feel stalled. Maybe you’re bored.

Author and ex-Google career coach Jenny Blake supplied CNBC with three questions you should ask yourself before making what many career-development specialists call a “career pivot.”

“The idea of climbing the corporate ladder has been pushed aside by the concept of career pivot,” says Stanford Graduate School of Business. According to Blake, whose latest book is Pivot: The Only Move That Matters Is the Next One, a successful career pivot has four stages:

  • 1. Double-down on existing strengths, interests, and experiences
  • 2. Find new opportunities and identify skills to develop without falling prey to analysis-paralysis and compare-and-despair
  • 3. Run small experiments to determine next steps
  • 4. Take smart risks to launch with confidence in a new direction


Blake’s three questions are designed to help you identify a new career to which you can pivot:


01. Do I enjoy this?

Once you’ve got an idea for your new work, develop a test project and pitch it to your boss. Blake recommends asking your boss if you can allocate 10% of your time to the project so you can really dig in and see if you enjoy and have a knack for it.


02. Can I become an expert at it?

Blake suggests reading as much about your new area of interest as you can. Maybe you know other people who also want to learn about it — you might be able to start a book club with them. Look for online courses or courses at local schools, or even find a professional who’s willing to coach you.


03. Is there room to expand in the market?

Blake made a classic pivot, working in Googles AdWords marketing department before doing some learning and then pivoting to career coaching at the company. It may be that what you’re interested in is something your current company can use.

It’s an encouraging indicator if you find a test project in step one that your boss goes for. However, if it seems like there’s a disconnect between what you want to do and what your company needs, do some research to see if you can meet a need other companies have. And if you’ve got step two nailed, it may be time to submit an application or two.

More and more, people don’t want a job to be just a paycheck. We prefer to see meaning and value in the work we spend all day doing. The trick, of course, is finding something you love to do that you can be good at and that somebody else is willing to pay you for.



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