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  • Writer's pictureShelley Pisani

Need a Career Reboot?

I don't know about you, but COVID left many of us pondering our career path. Particularly working in the arts, as one of the first impacted industries and one that continues to feel the lingering effects of cancellations and change, I have seen many people take divergent career paths over the last 12 months.

For me it wasn't a question of changing industries - I am firmly embedded in a ridiculously stubborn way. I had just been through a major career reboot over the previous two years and I wasn't going to let up on the path I had chosen. I just had to think differently about it.

This career reboot started after 11 years of being part of a wonderful organisation and team. But towards the end of that time, I had the energy drained out of me through - well - plainly said - politics. These weren't internal, it was external pressures and industry changes that did not align with my core values. I had to step away for the health of the organisation and for my own wellbeing.

So here I am - a mid-career 40 plus arts worker living in regional Queensland. I didn't want to relocate. I needed to be available for my family. It felt like I was starting over even though I'd had a wealth of industry experience behind me. There were no local jobs I wanted. I had to create my own path.

I restarted my former life as an arts sector consultant as a way of getting back into the sector as an independent. I then did the old SWOT! I looked at my strengths and weaknesses. I looked at the external opportunities and threats. What niches could I carve for myself?

One of my big strengths is my connections in the industry. So one of my first career reboot strategies was to reach out to those connections. I picked up some workshop facilitation roles and even participated on the team of a major regional arts event. Whilst doing all of this, I was constantly putting on that entrepreneurial thinking hat and looking for the next opportunity. I was also developing a major project that got funded and turned into a two-year project.

That project extended my connections, allowed me to employ my first staff member and belt the solid foundations for not one - but two businesses. Don't get me wrong, there is a lot of stress associated with being a sole trader and employer - making sure there is money in the account to meet all upcoming obligations whilst being the doer on the ground. But I get to choose my projects, work from home and connect with wonderful people in an industry I love.

So if you are at that crossroads, contemplating your next move....

  • What are your strengths?

  • What drives you?

  • What core values won't you compromise on?

  • What opportunities are there for you in this fast changing world we find ourselves in?

  • Who are you connected to that you could reach out to?

  • Who would you like to work with?

  • What have you always wanted to do?

Answering these questions honestly, might help you to map out some ideas and pathways.

To that person who recently said to me that they watched me reinvent myself and can see that it can be done - this is for you. A career reboot doesn't necessarily mean a complete change away from what drives you - it means running towards it.

Shelley Pisani

November 2021

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