When I called career strategist Jenny Blake to talk about a career change, my motives were decidedly selfish. After taking a business role at Quartz, I pitched (and landed) a new job in the newsroom. I wanted to know how Quartz readers could approach the career change—how to make a proverb. pivotBut I also wanted to hear how to get the most out of myself.
Blake has spent years thinking about shifting, switching, and rebooting at work.she is the author of Pivot: Only the next move matters, Host of podcast About career changes, and about people who have made a lot of turns in their careers. I asked Blake about creating pivots and she was mindful of how I phrased my question.
“I actually think you can say pivot,” she said. In other words, she was suggesting that I use pivot as a verb, not a noun.
As I pondered her proposal, I began to wonder if this choice was more than just a syntax issue. It may have been philosophical as well. As Blake puts it, pivoting isn’t just about making her one move. It is the product of many micromovements taking small experimental steps towards the next phase. If you want to pivot, you have to see it as an action. should be treated as a verb.
My own career change came after a few years of stalling. After playing several roles supporting the newsroom, I realized that I really wanted to dive into the news itself. rice field.
So I shifted: I stopped thinking and started doing. I began pushing out article ideas and pitches, emailing editors who would consider contributions from me, and spending my free time writing articles as a side job. When an opportunity opened up at Quartz at Work, I didn’t find it difficult to motivate myself.
push and pivot
A pivot need not involve a major career change. It could be a switch to a new industry, a new project, or a new set of skills. Maybe you’re in the moving market, or maybe you’ve built momentum like I did.
Blake offers a way to think about how to make a difference, big or small, wherever you are in your work. This is her four-step framework, which she calls Pivot Her Method.
Step 1: Plant 🌱
The first step to pivoting begins with understanding your existing strengths and skill base. “Planting is rooted in what’s already working,” says Blake. That base helps define the values and priorities of your next move.
How did you do it I looked at my favorite experiences I’ve built up in my current job.For example, in my previous job I regularly came up with special series Selling to the newsroom — I realized it was also a key reporting skill to becoming an editor.
Test it yourself. To find yours, you can try exercises like 3×5=3 (and Associated worksheet), which helps identify and extract the transferable skills accumulated from all the jobs you have ever held.
Step 2: Scan 👀
After examining that base, look at the options that surround you. Here’s an image suggested by Blake: Draw yourself on the GPS map. You can plot both current location and destination. You need to scan for people, skills and projects that can get you there.
How did you do it When I started to seriously consider switching, I started talking to friends who had similar jobs in another newsroom, and then attended reporting workshops to hone my skills.
Test it yourself. You can try any combination of these tactics.
- Have exploratory conversations with someone who understands how to get to your destination
- Research skills that will help you move forward
- Pick a project that will further boost your knowledge and skills
Step 3: Pilot 🚁
Once you know your pivot path, set up a personal pilot project to get you there. These are small, low-risk experiments that test if you like the direction you’re headed in, and give you feedback on what worked and what didn’t.
How did you do it I started pitching my ideas to magazine editors, gathering useful feedback and commissions along the way, and found the work energizing. By then I had heard that Quartz at Work was rethinking some of its coverage. So I wrote his 7-page note summarizing topics, stories and sources for my editor.
Test it yourself. Blake says a solid pilot helps you assess what she calls the three E’s. Ask yourself the following questions.
- do i fun this?
- can you be expert So?
- do you have room Expansion Within my team or market?
Step 4: Launch 🚀
Repeat the first three steps as many times as necessary to feel confident in your chosen path. Blake says you should be 80% to 90% on your way to your goal. Once we’ve achieved that, it’s time to make a bigger commitment at launch.
How did you do it That seven-page memo? It got me an interview for the role of editor and then the job itself. He has been in his new position for two months. work reportedit our sectionand delivery this newsletter to you.
Test it yourself. break is template This will help you prepare for your big launch. Inside, you can choose set financial benchmarks, establish dates and milestones, and track your path to momentum.
find a perfect turn
“The big secret is that we keep pivoting,” says Blake. When exploring and testing new directions, be prepared for big changes, even if small steps don’t see them.
What have you already done well in your career?, we might ask ourselves. More importantly, what can you try next?
Other Stories About Careers
🩰 How to Plan Your Career Pivot and Make It Successful
📝 Try our simple worksheet to find your next job
🔄 career pivot?I’m more ready than I thought
Are microcredentials important to your career?
🌟 How to be ambitious at work without burning out
you got a note
Send questions, comments, and your complete turn story to firstname.lastname@example.org. This edition of The Memo Gabriella Riccardi Editor Anna Oakes.