So one of the things that were a challenge for me was figuring out how to get out of engineering and into something else when I didn’t know what the something else was.
Right? So I’m like, I don’t know what to search for, because I don’t know what I want to do. So with the advice of a career advisor, he’s like, “Put in what you think you want to be doing.” And so that made me think about what do I want to be doing in a job? I like to create things. I like to develop. I like to lead. I like to do all those things. I want to be in charge and work with a team that helps me generate this vision I have in my mind. So I had to think about what you like to do instead of the job titles I was putting in: lead, engineer, and project manager. I wasn’t interested in any of these things, and they weren’t what I wanted to do.
I wanted that space to create and direct and develop. And so, those are the kinds of things I put in to find the job that I loved. And that sounded like it was written for me. Getting out of nutrition was becoming a nutrition policy manager for a company that promoted plant-based diets, which is the diet that I use to heal myself of cancer. So when I saw this job, I was like, “This is for me.” And I would have never thought to look at it differently. So if you’re stuck in trying to figure out what is next and you’re not even sure the kind of job, step back for a minute and think about what is it that you want to be doing daily?
What do you like to do? So stop putting in the job titles, stop focusing on that software engineer. Start focusing on the things that give you life and energy that you love to do and start searching on those things and just be surprised, happily surprised by what might pop up that suits you for what you can do. Because sometimes, we get so caught up in these titles that we don’t expand our thinking into a completely different career field. I had no idea that I would end up doing nutrition policy or plant-based living and teaching people how to heal themselves until I got out of the mode of, “I have to be doing engineering and simulation analysis and regression analysis and reliability analysis,” things that I didn’t want to do. However, I thought I’m so trained to do that.
But I realized I was trained in many things. I was trained in how to organize, how to think logically, how to organize an utterly massive software project and how to manage people and how to get people motivated and how to sell a product and project. And all of those things that come along with what I was doing at the time as an engineer was a ton of skill sets that I could use—always learning how to solve a problem from zero. That’s what I was trained in doing and coming up with a solution every time. Being calm under pressure those are the kinds of things that I had been taught to do, to think things logically. When I thought about that, I’m like there are tons of jobs that I can do.
So if you’re in a job and a career title and on a career path that you no longer want to be on, step back and think of your accurate skillset, step back and think of the things that give you the most joy in your current job or that you’ve enjoyed doing the most and start crafting stuff around that and start doing searches around those things and be open to something completely different. Because of your educational background, your previous jobs do not dictate what you’re going to be doing for the next ten years unless you decide that’s what you want. So break out of the box, try something different, and be overwhelmed with joy when you find something that fits just for you and has your name on it, like my first job out of engineering had mine on.
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