Time for a Career Pivot? Four Suggestions for Association Pros

Right now, even with all the disruption caused by the pandemic, you might find yourself looking for a change. How can you manage it? Read on for a few questions you should ask yourself.

You may like associations, but do you feel like you’re always looking at greener pastures—even now?

There are a lot of directions to go within the association field, and plenty of opportunities to make a career pivot into a related field such as consulting or with an industry partner. Or maybe you want to find a new place to show off your natural leadership skills.

But a career pivot isn’t the easiest thing to pull off. What should you consider when going forward? A few things to ask yourself:

Is now the time? For some people, the decision to find a new role may be by force, due to the nature of the economy at the moment. But you may decide that you want to find a new role by choice. But given the instability, does that even make sense? The blog A Girl in Progress offers a few hints that suggest it might be time for a change, such as dread, doubt, or a belief that you may be at a dead end career-wise. “If your daydreams are about leaving this job and finding something else, then take stock in them and start taking steps to make it a reality,” the blog states.

Could COVID-19 offer the opportunity? The fact is, COVID-19 is making a lot of people think about the state of the world and what the future might look like, Forbes contributor Jack Kelly notes. And that could make you think about a career pivot. “There’s a collective consciousness of our own mortality. We’re only one phone call away from a doctor bearing horribly bad news,” Kelly writes. “Sickness, trauma and death are no longer theoretical, as we now starkly see the daily cases and death toll associated with the pandemic.” Although a pivot could feel right at the moment, Kelly says it should be done with a safety net. “Dip your toes in the shallow part of the water and slowly wade into the deeper end over time,” he adds.

Can you explain what you want to do next? Is there a person in your life whose career path you admire? Or are there things about your current role that you know you don’t want in your next one? The thing is, with a career pivot, you need to be able to put your next steps into words, notes Business 2 Community contributor Stefan Palios. “In order for a career pivot to be successful, you need to know where you’re going,” he states. “That requires knowing what you’re leaving and, by extension, what you need in order to solve a problem or fill a need for adventure.”

Can you be flexible? For association employees who may be in their 40s or 50s and on the market once again, it can be difficult to restart at a time like this. Charles Tharp, a professor at Boston University’s Questrom School of Business, recommends that  older workers take the initiative to learn new skills. “As a culture, 55 and over becomes a pretty tough career phase for finding a new job,” Tharp explained in an interview. “The question is, are you willing to invest the time for retraining, perhaps if there are skills that you don’t possess but are in higher demand? The more you can be flexible in terms of learning, the more you can open yourself to new opportunities.”

(sefa ozel/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

Got an article tip for us? Contact us and let us know!