One of my favorite authors is career expert Lindsey Pollak. I “discovered” her 14 years ago (2007) when she published her first book “Getting from College to Career”, a magnificent support to get you started in the professional world after your studies. Years later, in 2014, she published another great book “Becoming the Boss” with great tips for progressing and succeeding in your professional career. In 2019 she published “The Remix”, to help professionals succeed in the professional arena with different generations working together.
This year 2021, she has just published “Recalculating”, a great work dedicated to helping professionals reinvent themselves and successfully adapt to an increasingly changing and uncertain professional environment. It is an entertaining, inspiring, and very practical book. And it has great examples to help you understand how to successfully reinvent yourself professionally.
The book owes its name to Pollak’s analogy between using GPS and managing your career. Using the GPS, when something unforeseen appears (such as when you find construction sites, an accident or you miss an exit…) the device goes into “recalculating” mode, that is, searching for new ways to reach the defined objective. Well, according to Lindsey Pollak, the same thing happens in a professional career. And with increasing frequency. Therefore, most professionals will have to reinvent ourselves, “recalculate” several times in their professional career.
Pollak uses a phrase from Richard Branson perfectly sums up the main idea of the book: “Every success story is a tale of adaptation, revision and change.”
In this sense, the author offers the following advice:
- Embrace Creativity. To successfully “recalculate”, you must try new things and step out of your comfort zone. Consider working in unknown sectors, with new technologies, with new methods … Take time to think creatively, how you can connect your talents, motivations and skills with your professional experience and training in order to discover new professional roles in which you can add value and be happy.
- Prioritize action. As Pollak says, “the recalculation process cannot take place only in your brain.” Above all, take action: network, pick up the phone, send an email … Don’t let overthinking penalize your action. As Dale Carnegie said, “Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage”. Therefore, as soon as possible, take action.
- Control what you can. In the process of professional reinvention, there are going to be many things that you will not be able to control. Learn to accept those things and focus all your efforts on controlling things that you can control, that depend on you.
- Know your non negotiables. Just because you are creative in the process of professional reinvention and step out of your comfort zone does not mean that you should renounce your values or your morals. Sometimes you are going to have to take a step back at the level of responsibility or at the salary level. You are going to have to change sector, perhaps residence … but above all, you must be clear about the red lines that you are not willing to cross. Define well what your nonnegotiable values are and do not accept any project that threatens them.
- Ask for help. You should never face the professional reinvention process alone. There should always be people who can help you: organizations, websites, books, articles, consultants and coaches… If you don’t know something, ask it. If you want to get a contact, ask for it. As Pollak says “Ask early, ask often, ask forever.”
And to close this post, I use a quote from John Lennon that appears in the book and that I love: “Everything will be okay in the end. If it’s not okay, it’s not the end”.