Transforming your career: never underestimate your skills.
Written by Bethanie Blanchard, Strategy Director, Carat Australia
“There’s nothing wrong with deciding you no longer want something you once thought you wanted.”
This was a piece of advice given to me by a friend years ago, and I’ve never forgotten it.
I had decided – after working for years to build up a career as a journalist, and for a scholarship to do post-grad study – that neither were a future I wished to continue with.
It was a lot to abandon and it spurred a big sense of feeling lost and completely unmoored from the course I had set for myself.
I applied for an entry-level role at a Publisher and began, well into my twenties, my work life again.
I tell you this because I want you to believe something about the often tangled path that is your career.
Maybe you’ve felt overwhelmed at the prospect of beginning from scratch in a new role.
Maybe others have questioned the position you’re in, citing the ‘correct’ path to get there.
Maybe you’ve decided that you don’t know enough about the industry you find yourself in.
Or maybe you’ve believed you’re out of your depth in a new company where everyone seems to know more than you.
The best leaders, and the best companies, hire for diversity of identity and diversity of thought.
They look at culture add as well as culture fit.
What makes you different is what makes your thinking different, and that is something valuable to a company and to be proud of in your work.
It is something to nurture and embrace, not to discard.
I writer I admire, Joan Didion, once said about the act of writing,
"What's so hard about that first sentence is that you're stuck with it. Everything else is going to flow out of that sentence. And by the time you've laid down the first two sentences, your options are all gone."
Thankfully, what is so true of writing doesn’t translate to career paths. You can ctl c ctl v your opening sentences into a new story.
For my own part, I moved from my entry-level role into a Strategy role relatively quickly, and I remember asking my manager one day, “why did you take a chance on me?”
They told me it was because I didn’t come from a background like many of the other candidates. I thought outside of advertising.
It felt like a revelation that the very background that made me think I wasn’t qualified – that had paralysed me for months with impostor syndrome – had been precisely the training that made me uniquely qualified for the role.
The things you decide you no longer want can be the things that help you get the ones you really do.