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Career Re-Invention – A lesson from an old Friend

and I’m a bit nostalgic and inspired today after reading an article about a woman whose life started out as an actor in some of those pop-cult type movies and after many were ready to write her off she proclaimed she would never give up and reinvented herself as a teen inspirational author and self help guru of sorts.

It made me think about how her advice and encore career as an undeniable inspiration to teens, could translate to job seekers. Here are my thoughts:

Be Persistent

Many of us don’t get the job we want. Some of us do not always love the job we have. The important thing however is to never give up on ourselves in the process. If you are unhappy, unfulfilled, and full of dread when you head to work in the morning, regardless of your age, it’s time to reassess. Sometimes we need to take a minute to refocus our energy into something different and see other possibilities.

Be Open To The Possibilities – Everywhere

Consider the areas that people seem to consistently see you as the go-to person for advice about their lives. You may realise that this is an area you know something about. What is that “thing” you get asked about in your circle of friends? Are you an expert handyman? Do you feel comfortable discussing sex with your children, while your friends are blushing at the thought? Are you handy with a paintbrush? Consider it might be right under your nose; if you only are open to them.

Don’t Listen To The Naysayers

Oh, sure, the media will give you all the bad news and support for your miserable case if you look for it. Instead, have some discipline and push those news feeds away like it’s something you are allergic to! We have all been told that we a really bad at something or the other in our life – the important thing is to not allow that to stop you

As  you find the new directions that fulfill you and you start to get better at these new ventures you will be the one enjoying the last laugh – guaranteed.

Job seekers, can learn a lot from reinvention.Many people have reinvented themselves and successfully so, you’re not down for the count until YOU say it’s over.

I recently had coffee with an old school mate who I hadn’t seen in many years.

As we caught up on each others’ personal and professional lives, we also updated each other on news about fellow friends we both knew. She filled me in on one friend who I hadn’t seen or heard from in a very long time and started by saying, “I have to tell you about ___. This is the greatest career story.”

My friend proceeded to tell me the juiciest story about all the drama that unfolded at this woman’s current employer. It was rich with details, full of highs and lows, and ended with our mutual friend landing a promotion. When it was over, she said, “Isn’t that an incredible story?” I thought, “Good? It could be a movie!” She knows me well. I’m always looking to celebrate success stories over at Your Future in Your hands.

Why Some Career Stories Are More Memorable Than Others

As I analyzed what made that story so gripping, I realized it had all the elements of the most captivating books I had read or movies I had ever watched. There was a:

  1. villain
  2. victim-turned-hero
  3. terrible obstacle to overcome
  4. evil sidekicks
  5. mild-mannered (yet powerful!) allies
  6. lots of unexpected turns of events(and most importantly)
  7. happy ending


We ALL Have Career Stories

Each of us has a career story. It’s the way we summarize and share what has happened in our professional lives. They explain where we’ve been, where we are, and where we are trying to go. These stories are very important to our success. Why? When we share them, they create our personal brand. The better the story, the more likely people will connect with our message. These stories are especially important when we are trying to affect change in our career (i.e. get a promotion, a new job, switch careers, start a business ,etc.) These stories become our “marketing message” – and if they aren’t good, our ability to succeed suffers. For more evidence on the power of stories in your career, read fellow LinkedIn writer, Peter Guber’s article here on our “hunger” for a good story.

Bad Career Story? It’s Time to Change the Plot

When a client comes to me and is miserable in their career, the story I hear usually sounds a lot like a fairy-tale that stops short of its happy ending. There’s plenty of drama, but the story lacks key elements – just like a bad movie with a weak plot or badly written book. I often tell them, “If you cannot get your happy ending with your career story told this way in your head, it’s time to change the plot.” We then work through their mindset towards their situation, slowly changing their assumptions and perceptions, until finally, it can be told in a different way. When that happens, a happy ending usually comes into view.

FYI – In my next post, I will share an example of how this works. I’ll introduce you to Mike, who I helped go from “poor me” to “woo hoo” with his career story. (CLICK HERE >> to read it now.)

What do you think makes a juicy career story? How can people be more memorable (in a good way!) when they share their career stories?

If you want to read more of what I’ve written, https://www.career-coach.co.za/blog/

P.S. – First time reading my posts? Thanks for taking the time to stop by! Not only do I write for LinkedIn, but I’m also founder of a popular career advice site, Develop Your DREAM CAREER. I hope you’ll check it out!



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