The Career Pivot: Taking a Step Back To Make a Leap Forward

Despite the unsteady job market, there are a variety of reasons why people decide they want to take the plunge into a career change. For me, the decision was simple – I was barreling down an unsustainable path with a burning desire to explore other opportunities.

Many colleagues, friends, and family members were shocked to learn that I had suddenly quit my job. I had dedicated years to reaching a certain level within the company and my career. For many, the thought of leaving a decently paying job was difficult to understand.

While my decision seemed impulsive and abrupt, the truth is that I had been planning to make a change for quite some time. Over the past year and a half, I significantly reduced my monthly expenses and saved up a healthy emergency fund. I wanted to feel financially secure if I needed to take some time off or a future pay cut.

I may not have had a solid plan when I gave my two weeks notice, however, I had several leads. And I had faith that unemployment wouldn't last long.

Two weeks ago, I started a part-time gig with an incredible company. I'm still working in the entertainment business, but focusing my energy on digital marketing and technology. I'm absolutely stoked about the company culture, emphasis on constant learning, and work-life balance.

My original plan was to accept a part-time position and focus the other half of my time on freelance projects, however, I'm quickly realizing the tremendous and unique opportunities that have been presented to me at this new company. I've made the decision to focus solely on moving forward with them.

My short-term goal is to get hired full time. And I'm confident that I can achieve this by the end of 2014.

Is it risky? Absolutely.

It's incredibly tempting to pick up some side work to supplement my part-time income, but I'm afraid of expelling energy on any activities that won't be beneficial long-term.

I plan to continue focusing on health and wellness while I work towards achieving this goal. I've just successfully completed my third week of Pact (five workouts a week) and I'm feeling fantastic. I have no doubt that realigning my priorities like this will result in better job performance and overall happiness.

Last time I took a step back professionally, it paid off in a big way. I'm betting the farm on this opportunity and look forward to sharing my progress in the coming months.

For those on the brink of making major life changes, I encourage you to listen carefully to yourself and attempt to filter out the noise. Take a step back and contemplate what feels right. You know what's best for you, so be honest and don't be afraid.

Readers: Have you ever made a career pivot? How has that change affected your professional life?

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Discussions — 21 Responses

  • NZ Muse September 1, 2014 on 6:26 am

    Pivot result: Less work, more money. (Beats being underresourced and underpaid – lots of perks about prevoius field but ultimately not enough to counter the $$ I could be making elsewhere.) Better long term prospects. Only negative is job title doesn’t sound quite as impressive – but it’s not a step down, just a different (sideways) step.

    Fingers crossed for you!

  • Tre September 1, 2014 on 8:06 am

    The fact that you can focus on this opportunity without taking the first job offered because you need the money is great. I’ve been on the fence lately about taking a leap with my career. The last time I did, I landed a great position.

  • Michelle September 1, 2014 on 8:50 am

    I think you made a good decision. You’ll never know the outcome unless you try, and I’d hate to live in regret. That’s why I left my day job for the “unstable” income of freelancing. Thankfully it all worked out anyways!

  • Tonya@Budget and the Beach September 1, 2014 on 9:40 am

    I really envy the position you’re in that you’re able to make this happen! I have to look for work in areas I’m not super thrilled about because I don’t have enough income to sustain me. It’s been very frustrating. But I don’t want to focus on me! I’m really happy for you that you found this pt job and hope it leads to the full time opportunity you’d like it to!

  • Shannon @ Financially Blonde September 1, 2014 on 10:16 am

    Twice, I have taken a step back to make a career change and while they may have seemed risky at the time, they definitely paid off in the long run, and they have definitely enhanced my career for the better. I always mentor people to take on risks like this. Good for you!

  • Kassandra @ More Than Just Money September 1, 2014 on 11:18 am

    Congrats on finding an opportunity that seems to be in alignment with what you value. Sometimes it can really be worth taking a step side-ways in order to gain what you really want.

  • debs@debtdebs September 1, 2014 on 11:34 am

    Oh, that sounds really good and in line with something you want to do. It’s always interesting to learn new skills. Being stuck in a rut is demotivating. I hope the FT position works out for you, Addison.

  • Pauline September 1, 2014 on 12:54 pm

    Sounds like a great option, I hope you get the full time job. I left my job 4 years ago to freelance and it was a great move. 4 years later, more money, more freedom, more happiness, no more boss!

  • Erin @ Journey to Saving September 1, 2014 on 2:04 pm

    I hope they decide to bring you on full-time! I’m glad the new company is working out so well for you. I can understand why you would rather solely focus your efforts there as opposed to freelancing and working part-time. Best of luck!

  • Kirsten September 1, 2014 on 7:29 pm

    That’s awesome you found something that you are excited about and I think it’s very wise to stay fresh and focused in order to grow there. Best of luck getting the full time spot.

  • Mrs. Frugalwoods September 1, 2014 on 9:39 pm

    That sounds really exciting. Congrats to you for taking the risk of quitting your previous job and finding something even better! I hope it manifests as a full-time position for you soon!

  • Kipp September 2, 2014 on 7:20 am

    Hey Addison,

    It is great to see how savings can to put you in a position to be able to choose what you desire to do! I think it is a different level of freedom than financial independence, but freedom nonetheless! I hope all goes well with the new gig!


  • Robin September 2, 2014 on 7:57 am

    I’m glad you put yourself into a position to where you had the option to leave that job behind. I think you would have regretted it if you hadn’t, so congrats!
    I quit my job too and sometimes when I panic about it, I have to remind myself that I did it for a good reason and I will ALWAYS have that prior experience on my resume. It’s not going anywhere!

  • Alicia September 2, 2014 on 12:01 pm

    I’ve been contemplating a pivot as well. I don’t like the path I am going down, but I can see myself tweaking my direction to get where I’d much rather go. I can’t make the jump without something lined up though – I don’t have the money in the bank, or the leads lined up, to do that just yet.

  • Melanie @ Dear Debt September 2, 2014 on 1:41 pm

    Sounds like you made the right decision. Congrats on the PT job. Sounds like a great opportunity. I will be crossing my fingers for you that it turns into more. I recently made the switch to freelance. It felt like an unlikely direction for me, but I’m happier so far!

  • kürdistan haberleri September 2, 2014 on 8:30 pm

    Sounds like you made the right decision. Congrats on the PT job. Sounds like a great opportunity. I will be crossing my fingers for you that it turns into more. I recently made the switch to freelance. It felt like an unlikely direction for me, but I'm happier so far!.

  • Stefanie @ The Broke and Beautiful Life September 4, 2014 on 7:55 am

    As an actress, unemployment is a fact of life. It’s always strange to me when people freak out about it, it’s my “normal”, so I know how to prepare for it and live with it. I also don’t have any major financial obligations like a mortgage or children, so that helps a lot.

  • Simon E. September 7, 2014 on 5:44 am

    The crucial thing here is that you are transitioning to something you love, something with potential for happiness and opportunities to learn even more. All the best getting to fulltime.
    You also have something else going for you…exercising and being healthy…wealth is ultimately a by-product of health, gratitude and contentment. Soldier on.

  • Weekly Update #12 | House of Tre September 8, 2014 on 4:31 pm

    […] …@cashvillesky wrote about The Career Pivot. […]

  • Michelle September 10, 2014 on 8:41 am

    I love that this is coming together for you. I think the big lesson learned is to listen to yourself. Americans average 5 careers in a lifetime. It’s probably better to intentionally make a career shift then have a shift made for you (fired/downsized) Am looking forward to reading more about your journey.

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