Updated: Jul 29
In the past decade I reinvented my career. I surfed from Finance through Big Tech and Startups. Now I've founded a business to help you reach your next big thing.
As a liberal arts grad with six figures of debt and few hard skills, I had to quickly adapt for the industry I wanted. I learned how to create income, growth and flexibility. I was able to wipe out debt, get married, and work in global capitals like London, Berlin and Beijing using the method below.
Do I really need to?
Why choose to reinvent ourselves? Careers in the most innovative and competitive sectors are no longer linear. 94% of employers expect us to pick up new skills on the job (up from 65% in 2018) (World Economic Forum, 2020). Whether Engineering, Marketing, Finance, HR, or Sales - at least 54% of workers will need upskilling / reskilling by 2022 (WEF, 2019).
Knowledge work is here, and there is an explosion of investment into e-learning to help us help ourselves. The alternative is competing for the same opportunities against peers with better digital dexterity (Gartner, 2018) and readiness for the AI-assisted workplace. Pressure on our comfort zone is growing: 41% of companies expect to increase use of task-specialized contractors serving your timezone (WEF 2020).
Workers with the right skills don't need to apply to companies - companies apply to them. They take a sabbatical to care for their children or family elders. They can quit to start a venture with immediate access to capital. Competitors wait to snap them up if it doesn't work out. They can choose which city, ski resort or coastal paradise they want to work from, and live out their family dream. If you work in a large company, you've probably noticed which business units get investment, staff and resource (high margin, high growth). So, what's your response?
What could I gain?
I'm not here to tell you there's one big trend you should jump on. Our feeds are full of that. I will show you how to build a bridge to your next big thing when you find it.
In this series, let's examine how I developed the habits, perspective and tactics of a lifelong learner (Nahia Orduña, 2019). With these habits, you can avoid 'getting stuck' and 'just giving it two more years'. You will float, not sink, in uncertainty.
With this method, you could acquire the skills, network, and opportunity you need next, whenever you need it. You will find your tribe, increase focus and sustain motivation. You don't have to succeed or fail alone.
'Reasons to Believe'
Most of the time, the final decision on hiring comes down to one person. That person is not a recruiter.
Mid-career roles are so specialized, I would argue anyone outside of the team starts at a disadvantage to visibility and access. Beyond the template description, you may have little information about the business drivers, team history and urgent challenges for the role.
Internal candidates freely network with the hiring manager and tenured team members. They present a targeted message on 'why me' because they learn the needs driving this hire.
Plus, there is less 'burden of proof' to hire someone already inside the company, department or industry. They already have demonstrated results inside the industry and company culture. They probably have been promoted internally. They're a known quantity.
What's your solution? You need to equip the decision maker with concrete, justifiable reasons to believe you are the best hire for this position. So how do you build that strong business case and hand it over with a patient, humble smile? See the full article (Reasons to Believe: How Hiring Actually Works).
On reflection, I had not created evidence to be credible. I needed to develop my capability. I was visible and landing interviews, and (predictably) they weren't panning out.
During reinvention, I interviewed for 10 roles across different units like Alexa, Amazon Advertising, and AWS. This process of 'eureka' and setbacks forced me to reflect and discover my intrinsic motivation. I needed to get smart, because failing hurts!
I realized the levers I needed to be credible, capable and visible were right there in front of me.
These are all familiar. Yet building and deploying them in the way I'll share with you is how you build your rocket ship, and punch a ticket to your next big thing.