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18 Tips for Career Reinvention by Labor Day

If you are in life stage: Contemplating Reinvention Posted May 27th, 2015
By Kathryn Sollmann

Itching to do something different in your work and life? Ready to leave Corporate America or jump back in to some kind of work after time at home? The summer months could offer the unstructured time you need to think about career reinvention, recycling or rebranding. In the spontaneity of summer, you’ll find that change springs from the unexpected, the unplanned and the unrehearsed. Here’s a list of 18 tips to get you moving in new directions…

Sow the Seeds of Change

  1. Listen to nagging feelings about any current work dissatisfaction before you explode and run toward a new, but not ideal, situation. ID-100169769
  2. Get out of the line of fire for a few days or longer. You can’t fully analyze your career or life portfolio when your usual routine relentlessly carries on.
  3. Conduct reinvention due diligence by taking an honest inventory of your current career. Not just what you like and you don’t like. Dig deeper and think about what really motivates you, energizes you, gives you pride, makes you stretch, offers a creative outlet, etc.
  4. Get a full financial tune-up. Find out if your reinvention idea makes long-term dollars and sense for your life and family.
  5. Never think you are too old to pursue any career or passion.
  6. Remember what you wanted to be when you grew up: sometimes in those early musings you’ll find the seeds for reinvention.
  7. Think of career reinvention as a time to truly zero in on the work that will allow you to be the most successful and fulfilled.
  8. Keep a reinvention journal: a running list of all hobbies and interests you could possibly turn into a new career.
  9. Consider rebranding your skills and experience (f0r a related endeavor), rather than a more complex reinvention “overhaul”.
  10. Internalize the “recycling” concept.  Find ways to use your old skills in new ways.
  11. Work slowly toward possible new careers while you still have a job. Gather samples of products, marketing brochures, supplies, ingredients, books and resources—whatever you might later use.
  12. Find your reinvention gurus.  Learn from the mistakes and successes of others.

Be True to Your Professional DNA

  1. Don’t assume that every company or non-profit organization that needs your skill set will be a personal and cultural fit for you.
  2. Know the type of work or volunteer environment that will empower, inspire and motivate your best self.
  3. Ask potential employers or volunteer colleagues pointed questions about their cultures, professional styles, processes and overall work environments.
  4. Take a deep dive into your true motivations. There’s no changing or downsizing your professional DNA: if you like delegating and giving orders, for example, you might not like wearing all the hats in a solo entrepreneurial venture.
  5. Decide if you will never leave behind a preference for more “corporate” structure—and if that’s the case be wary of joining loose start-ups or non-profits.
  6. Resist the urge to downsize or scale up too drastically. You may need a brief change of pace, not a longer, high or low voltage career.  –KAS

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Photo credit: Sura Nualpradid,

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