What's your risk appetite for career change? - Michelle Gibbings

Did you know that those entering the workforce now are likely to have at least 17 different employers, and five different careers during their lifetime?

Wow. Sounds exhausting.

Career change is inevitable for all of us. But when you’re tired and over your current career, it can seem too hard to change careers.

You absolutely can change and shift careers, and what helps is knowing your career style.

You’ll be one of three styles – navigator, surveyor or pioneer – and with each style comes a different level of willingness to take a risk with your career change.

If you’re a Navigator, you like to know precisely the steps you need to follow to land a role. You want to understand where you’re going and exactly how you’re going to get there. You’re less interested in experimenting as you have a low risk profile and appetite for career change.

If this is you, think small steps first. You might leap from one functional area to another within your current company or organisation. For example, you may move from HR to change management, or IT to project management.

Or you might be the type of person who constantly seeks new ideas and knowledge.

Do you get bored easily? Do you like to stretch your mind and capabilities? Are you ok with taking a risk?

If that’s you, you’re likely to be a Surveyor. You’re willing to push the boundaries and take the less established routes. You’re keen to discover new roles that you may not have considered before.

Potential career destinations could be stepping stones to somewhere else. For example, you might leap from working in a corporate role to leveraging that knowledge as an external consultant working for a consulting firm, before making another leap to running your own consulting business.

And lastly, the Pioneer. This has the highest level of risk, as it has the greatest level of unknowns.

You’re not concerned that there’s no clear career path ahead. It’s that challenge, that risk of the unknown, that spurs you on.

You love experimenting with ideas and outcomes and are unrestricted by rules and structure. This means that your career choices can appear unconventional. And your options are boundless! You could leap from being an architect to a radio announcer; a dancer to a lawyer; a banker to a business owner.

Whichever style you are, it’s important to consider how your style is helping or hindering your career choices. Ask yourself:

  • Is this career style holding me back?
  • Am I limiting my options by being too risk averse?
  • What could it look like if I increased my appetite for career risk?
  • What options could I explore further?

You may want to consider what you might need to do differently for your next career move.

Perhaps it’s time to increase the level of risk you are willing to take on, be more willing to experiment, explore and elevate your appetite for change to make your career leap happen.

As noted author and academic, Daniel Kahneman said:

“Optimistic people play a disproportionate role in shaping our lives. Their decisions make a difference; they are inventors, entrepreneurs, political and military leaders – not average people. They got to where they are by seeking challenges and taking risks”.

Getting you ready for tomorrow, today®.

Michelle Gibbings is a change leadership and career expert and founder of Change Meridian.  Michelle works with global leaders and teams to help them get fit for the future of work. She is the Author of ‘Step Up: How to Build Your Influence at Work’ and ‘Career Leap: How to Reinvent and Liberate Your Career’. For more information: www.michellegibbings.com or contact [email protected].


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