Whether as a daydream or a spoken desire, nearly all of us have entertained the notion of reinventing ourselves. Feeling unfulfilled, burned out, or just plain unhappy with what we’re doing, we long to make that leap into the unknown. But we also hold on, white-knuckled, to the years of time and effort we’ve invested in our current profession.
In this powerful book, Herminia Ibarra presents a new model for career reinvention that flies in the face of everything we’ve learned from “career experts.” While common wisdom holds that we must first know what we want to do before we can act, Ibarra argues that this advice is backward. Knowing, she says, is the result of doing and experimenting. Career transition is not a straight path toward some predetermined identity, but a crooked journey along which we try on a host of “possible selves” we might become.
When I was young, it seemed that life was so wonderful,
A miracle, oh it was beautiful, magical.
And all the birds in the trees, well they’d be singing so happily,
Joyfully, playfully watching me.
But then they send me away to teach me how to be sensible,
Logical, responsible, practical.
And they showed me a world where I could be so dependable,
Clinical, intellectual, cynical.
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“With a wry sense of humor, Ken Robinson looks at the conditions that enable us to find ourselves in the element and those that stifle that possibility. He shows that age and occupation are no barrier, and that once we have found our path we can help others to do so as well. “The Element” shows the vital need to enhance creativity and innovation by thinking differently about human resources and imagination. It is also an essential strategy for transforming education, business, and communities to meet the challenges of living and succeeding in the twenty-first century.”
“Changing careers is not merely a matter of changing the work we do. It is as much about changing the relationships that matter in our professional lives. Shifting connections refers to the practice of finding people who can help us see and grow into our new selves, people we admire, would like to emulate, and with whom we want to spend time. All reinventions require social support. New or distant acquaintances — people and groups on the periphery of our existing networks — help us push off in new directions while providing the secure base in which change can take hold. Continue reading
Here are nine unconventional strategies for reinventing your career: act, then reflect; flirt with your selves; live the contradictions; make big change in small steps; experiment with new roles; find people who are what you want to be; don’t wait for a catalyst; step back periodically but not for too long; and seize windows of opportunity