Skip to main content

Don’t Even Think About Making a Career Move Without This Key Ingredient

Don’t Even Think About Making a Career Move Without This Key Ingredient

Since I’ve been working in the career space for over 20 years, I have seen lots of career paths, including people in very similar situations, but who end up with very different results. It gives me a nice window into what to do and what to avoid!

I had two clients who were at similar inflection points – both mid-career, in busy, Type A banking roles, feeling unfulfilled and looking to me to help make a career change. One made the change, but the other did not.

[Related: Eight Important Lessons I Learned From Quitting a Job I Loved]

The one who successfully made the change had the bigger job (so arguably more at risk), was in a smaller market (so fewer potential employers just by the numbers), and started our work together further away from her goal (she had no idea what she wanted to do unlike the other professional who had a new role in mind). What made the difference?

On the most basic level, the successful career changer put in more work. She showed up to all our sessions, having done the homework in between, and applied everything we discussed. The other professional still has her same job, still hates it, and is still wishing for a change. She was a no-show or last-minute cancel to several of our appointments and pushed back on all the recommendations I offered.

[Related: A Listening Ecosystem]

Yet, I wouldn’t say the work they invested was the difference (though of course that mattered a lot). Ultimately, the difference came down to confidence. The professional who never put in the work and therefore never made a change didn’t believe her efforts would make any difference. She repeated that sentiment often when I would suggest a plan of attack.

Confidence that you will reach your career goal is a pre-requisite. I have had clients where I needed to shore up their confidence, where I needed to give them techniques to build up confidence over time and in the meantime give them ways to move forward. But at the very least, they were willing to jump in, let me be confident for them to start, and then gain confidence from there. The ones who find success decide that they will be successful.

It starts with a decision. Dedicate and commit yourself, or get out, quit. -Andre Agassi (when asked how he climbed back to #1 ranking in tennis after slipping to #141)

[Related: How to Overcome Your Fears and Show Up For Your Clients Every Day]


Caroline Ceniza-Levine helps experienced professionals in tech, media, financial services, and other industries find work they love and earn more doing it. She is a Senior Contributor to Forbes Leadership and an adjunct at Columbia University.

Have more questions? Follow up with the expert herself.


Continue learning with this Ellevate Playbook: