This is Part 2 of a two-part series on career reinvention for senior-level executives. Part 1 explores a dozen key activities for reinvention.
As we saw in Part 1 of this series, the desire for reinvention often springs from discontent, if not downright unhappiness. Senior-level executives who have lost the mojo of their careers may recognize the need for reinvention – but they are flummoxed as to what such a reinvention might look like. In this part of the series, we explore options.
Reinvention often focuses on career, but can be broader than that, such as a reinvention inspired by…
- Your bucket list: Is there something you’ve always wanted to do and are determined to do before you leave this planet? Perhaps crossing that item off your bucket list will require you to reinvent yourself.
- Something you always put off: Similar to a bucket-list item, your long-delayed ambition could finally come to fruition as part of your reinvention.
- Something that interested you as a child: Our childhood ambitions can be intense and passion-producing. We may have abandoned them years ago for reasons that don’t exist today – parental pressure, discrimination, daunting entry requirements. Or we may have recognized back then a misalignment of skills that can be remediated today. It’s not too late to recapture that childhood dream.
When career is the main focus, reinvention can entail fairly simply work modifications, such as …
- A new employer or role in the same arena in which you’ve already been working: A simple change of employers – or even roles within your current employer may accomplish your reinvention goals. An advantage here is mitigating some of the reinvention risk that is particularly acute for senior-level executives.
- New employer in an arena or role that is new to you: Perhaps you’ve discovered your skills are easily transferable to a different industry and/or role. Or maybe you’d like to take your talents from the for-profit world and ply them at a non-profit, or in education or government.
- New geographic location. A simple change of venue might not qualify as a reinvention, but if it accomplishes your reinvention goals, the label is unimportant.
As mentioned in Part 1, reinvention means scrutinizing your skills to identify the skills that motivate you, that you are good at, and you enjoy using skills. You also need to pinpoint your “burnout skills,” those you may still be good at but are tired of using and would rather not use anymore. Some experts have suggested creating a matrix that lays out
- skills you are good at and enjoy using
- skills you enjoy using but that need development
- skills you are good at but no longer enjoy using
- skills you don’t enjoy using and are not that good at anyway.
Part 1 also refers to mitigating risk by making temporary stabs at reinvention before making a permanent commitment. Some common options for reinvention can be attempted in small doses while you are employed in your current situation…
- Entrepreneurship: One of the most popular forms of reinvention is starting your own business, but you can certainly do so while still employed. More and more workers these days, even at the senior-exec level, have “side hustles.”
- Teaching: Teaching evening, weekend, or online classes enables you to use a new skillset and test out your interest in educating others – while you continue to hold your job.
- Consulting: This form of entrepreneurship is a natural for executives; ideally you would offer consulting that does not compete with what your employer offers.
- Volunteering: You have endless opportunities to try different skillsets and discover new disciplines by serving as a volunteer while still working.
With the possible exception of volunteering, any of the above could become your ticket to leave your current job eventually, thus reinventing yourself.
One more significant option for exploring reinvention while avoiding risk is to propose to your employer that you take a paid sabbatical. Most universities and some employers offer paid sabbaticals; if yours doesn’t, it can’t hurt to propose one to your boss.
Once you have committed to reinvention, you’ll want to plan strategies to market your reinvented self. If you’re changing careers, you’ll want effective career-marketing materials, such as your resume, cover letter, and Linked-In profile, that position you for your reinvented career and help you mitigate possible age discrimination. A reputable career practitioner can help you with these materials.
As a career coach, I’ve helped numerous executives transition into more fulfilling careers. Schedule a call with Beverly today for a complimentary discussion http://www.harveycareers.com/discussion.
Executive Career Coach
Forbes Coaches Council Member
Credentialed Career Manager
Certified Career Management Coach