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Pivoting in Career and in Life

If you’re a fan of the television show “Friends” you’re picturing David Schwimmer’s character, Ross, hollering about shifting a couch on a tight stairwell.

I’ve been reading about the art of the pivot in careers as well. Many workers don’t see themselves spending 30 years employed by the same company and even more see opportunities to chart a new path altogether.

Pivoting when we were young seems so much easier.

I recently met the mom of a high school-aged athlete during my son’s summer basketball league. Her son is tall with the arm span to match. After spending most of his life in a metropolitan area, his family had moved to a small southern Kansas town for his mom’s job. He had spent 11 years playing soccer with a good degree of success but the school in their new town didn’t offer any sport beyond football, basketball, and track. So he pivoted and gave them all a try.

His talents on the soccer field meant he was a natural fit in the kicker position on the football team last fall. The transition to basketball wasn’t quite as smooth but she said he is putting in the work to learn and starting to enjoy it.

The added bonus of her son’s pivot, she added, was that he hadn’t picked up any bad habits. His coaches had a clean slate to work with and could teach him the fundamentals.

What could you accomplish if you had no bad habits? What are the fundamentals of your job? As you search for that next step in your career are you looking at what you know you are good at or what you think you could be good at?

Adults have many more chips on the table when it comes to making a career pivot. Sadly, it isn’t as simple as buying the appropriate shoes and a mouth guard or returning a very badly damaged couch as Ross had to in that classic episode.

Anyone who has moved furniture knows those doorframes and stair rails are rarely easy to navigate. A college neighbor of mine actually tied ropes to some of his bigger pieces of furniture and hauled them over the side of second-story deck railing when he moved in and eventually out of his college house.

Everything survived with the exception of a dorm fridge that wasn’t as secure as they initially thought. Thankfully he graduated shortly after so that wasn’t much of a problem.

Problems are bound to arise when making career or furniture pivots. You never know though it may just take a new pair of shoes to fix them.


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