Pivot Summary

1-Sentence-Summary: Pivot will give you the confidence you need to change careers by showing you how to prepare by examining your strengths, working with the right people, testing ideas, and creating opportunities.

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A couple of years ago I asked my dad if he thought it was too late for me to change my career. I’d been a Civil Engineer for a few years, wasn’t loving it, and was beginning to look into other fields.

“People change their careers all the time” was his response to my question. It filled me with hope to learn that he believed this was something I could do. I also lit up inside thinking about the opportunities ahead of me. 

I could not have anticipated how much work it would take. Or how much happier I would become after shifting into something more attuned to my strengths and passions. 

That was almost two years ago. Today, I’m an entrepreneur who writes and does Civil Engineering on the side. I couldn’t be more satisfied with my career and the direction it’s heading!

This is why I really appreciate Jenny Blakes‘ book Pivot: The Only Move That Matters Is Your Next One. If you’re feeling dissatisfied with your career, position, or anything else about work, this book is going to be a game-changer for you.

These are 3 of the best lessons the book teaches:

  1. You’ll need to analyze your financial situation and know your strengths if you want to navigate your career pivot successfully.
  2. Be proactive about creating opportunities, don’t wait for them to come to you.
  3. Manage the risk by testing out your potential new career with small experiments. 

Are you excited to discover how to change your career direction for the better? Let’s go!

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Lesson 1: Make yourself aware of your financial situation and your strengths to prepare for your career pivot.

I remember clearly the fear and panic I had as I finally admitted that I wasn’t happy with Civil Engineering and needed to change.

You might be having some of these same emotions as you realize it’s time to shift things up. Take a deep breath, remind yourself that this is normal, and start preparing by examining your strengths and finances.

Investigate what you’re good at from past evaluations, jobs, or experiences. You’ll quickly realize that you’re not starting over but that your expertise is a solid foundation to build on. 

As I did this I realized I was excellent at writing. I’d always received good grades in writing classes, loved doing it, and could type exceptionally fast. I also discovered that I had almost four years of teaching experience I could build on!

Next, you’ll need to look at your finances to make sure you can still make ends meet throughout the process. Make a plan to cover your basic costs for however long you think your pivot will take. You might save money or do what I did and start a company, which I’ll explain in the next lesson!

Lesson 2: Don’t wait for opportunities, actively seek them or get out there and create them.

Habit one of The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People is to be proactive. This means you’re always taking personal responsibility for your situation and seeking to improve it instead of blaming others or remaining idle.

If you want your career transition to be successful, you’re going to need this habit throughout the whole process. The good news is, if you’ve compiled a list of your strengths, you’ll have some great starting places!

My career shift started when I was at my old job as I began looking for ways I could create opportunities then started examining my strengths. 

Looking at the numbers, I realized that I could make the same amount of money and cut my workday by over 75% if I did what I was doing at my day job on my own. 

So that’s what I did and it’s helped pay the bills while I’ve worked on getting my writing career off the ground! I’ve also never stopped getting to know my talents better. I’ve always looked for opportunities to utilize them to create new opportunities.

This led me to discover Medium.com and begin writing there. 200 articles later I had opportunities coming to me left and right, and not long afterward became the managing editor here at Four Minute Books!

Lesson 3: Use small experiments to test out your potential new career so that you can manage the risk.

After getting to know your strengths, finances, and opportunities, you may already have found your new career panning out nicely. You won’t want to miss this last step, however, because it’s a vital component to make sure your efforts are successful.

You want to pilot your new line of work. To do this, you’ll set up small experiments so you can gradually work your way through the change. This way, you can manage the risk by still making a living and seeing how much you like your new field!

Start by thinking of the smallest possible version of the career path you want to go down. Seek opportunities to test that out or design those experiments yourself. You might create a website, start a side hustle, or even try a long-term job shadow.

When I began the change to become a full-time writer, I created a master plan for how and when I would make certain changes. 

A large part of that was starting my writing side hustle while I was still working full-time as a Civil Engineer. At the same time, I was constantly working on my plan to quit and start my own company, but I had to wait for the right moment.

Then, when my company let me go unexpectedly, I was in the perfect position to begin transitioning into writing while starting my own engineering company. 

Although the road was bumpy, I’m happy to say that piloting my new career was the safety net that caught me when I lost my engineering job!

Pivot Review

Pivot is my kind of book! With the major career transition I’ve been through recently I loved these tips and I only wish I had the book sooner. If the idea of being in your current line of work for the rest of your life makes you sick, then this is the book for you!

Who would I recommend the Pivot summary to?

The 23-year-old who just graduated from college and wants to make sure they make the best career decisions, the 47-year-old that’s sick of their job but too afraid to make the leap into a better field, and anyone who’s looking to change careers.

Last Updated on July 23, 2023

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Luke Rowley

With over 450 summaries that he contributed to Four Minute Books, first as a part-time writer, then as our full-time Managing Editor until late 2021, Luke is our second-most prolific writer. He's also a professional, licensed engineer, working in the solar industry. Next to his day job, he also runs Goal Engineering, a website dedicated to achieving your goals with a unique, 4-4-4 system. Luke is also a husband, father, 75 Hard finisher, and lover of the outdoors. He lives in Utah with his wife and 3 kids.