Like what Ross says in “Friends” when moving a furniture in a small space, pivot. We have little to no controlling power when switching a career, but one of the few actions within our own abilities is pivoting. This phase may be the most important one out of all 3. If you are wondering what the first 2 are, please click on Career Switching Journal — Part 1 and Career Switching Journal — Part 2 to check out.
The reason why I am viewing this phase highly is that even if one does not execute perfectly on planning and performing, one can still land in his/her dream job if continuously putting hard work and pivoting.
“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose. You’re on your own, and you know what you know. And you are the guy who’ll decide where to go.”
— Dr. Seuss
This is easier said than done. For starters, people intent to switch a career only have limited data at hand. One needs to be incredibly self-aware to make the judgement. I will provide an example.
After realizing I enjoy doing data analysis but not just data analysis. A lot of questions are left to myself.
- What if this is just the situation about this project?
- What if this is just the situation about this team?
- What if this is just because I am not there yet to see what other seasoned professionals are seeing?
If I do not jump out of the loop, I could self-doubt myself all day every day and I did exactly that. All questions I asked myself are valid and since they are valid, it makes the jump-out-of-the-loop behavior seems even less convincing. It was not a pleasant experience since no one could really answer these questions but at the same time, there were a lot of “correct” answers I have in mind. At the end of the day, only you yourself will be able to weight all the factors and make the decision, to proceed further on the same route or change to another one.
Soon after I made the decision that data analyst is not the path I would like to pursue, I was again standing in the intersection of countless possible jobs. I did not know what else I would possibly like to do for a living and did not know where to start. Luckily, I made a list about the things I enjoy doing and another list about the things I do not (Career Switching Journal — Part 1). Product management is there in the “Passion” section as well. With nothing else in mind, I figured I should give it a try and that journey went on for a very long time.
How long was the journey you asked. It was long enough for me to read articles like 3 Times You Need to Stop Your Job Search | The Muse not 1 time, not 2 times but multiple times … in a day. These articles helped in a way that I knew I was not the only one going through this process, even people that are not switching their career just switching jobs are potentially on the same route. In hindsight, one thing I am grateful even right now is that I never pivoted to another direction after setting my goal to land in a product manager position. The more people I talked with, the more certain I was that this is where I want to be.
Even though comparing to the first 2 parts, part 3 seems to be very short and without obvious “systems” to follow. I actually spent the longest time out of all 3 articles to structure the content to make it close to what happened to me and tried to keep it still entertaining in some ways. Hope you enjoy this series so far. I will be taking some time to structure the content of interview preparation for product managers and that will be in the future articles.