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Getting Real about a Big Career Change

Written By: Cassie Piggott 

We’ve all seen the posts on LinkedIn about how to make a career change, and they usually go something like this: 

“I took [Insert Course Name Here] and now I make six figures, have unlimited PTO, my manager is a literal saint, I’m never stressed, and even my skin cleared up!” 

When I started working toward leaving education, I would see those posts and instead of inspiring me, they made me feel like a failure. Why wasn’t I being successful? 

Over five months in 2022, I interviewed with so many companies that I tried to keep a record but honestly, I lost count. At the beginning, I was so excited for each interview but as time crept by I became more and more discouraged. I created decks, I did presentations, and I was incredibly insulted at one point when the wife of a person who interviewed me reached out via a LinkedIn direct message to give me advice since I’d apparently interviewed so poorly. That’s a story for another day though.

What I needed was some real practical advice on how to make this huge change. So that’s what I have for you today, real practical advice that isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. 

So, what would I tell women on the verge of this huge change?

First, I recommend picking a lane and sticking with it. What I mean is that you can’t be super broad in your career aspirations. Be specific. If your headline on LinkedIn says that you’re “Interested in becoming an SDR, an Event Planner, or a Customer Success Manager,” it will be difficult to take you seriously. A focused career shift will also make upskilling much easier since you will be learning a smaller skill set if you’re focused on one area. Pick a direction and go boldly toward it!

Second, it is fantastic if you really enjoy your new role and the people you work for and with. but never forget that a job is a job and shouldn’t be your identity. This first job probably won’t be your forever role and it probably shouldn’t be. 

I was laid off twice between my original pivot out of the classroom and now. It happens and you should be prepared for it. I don’t say that to scare you or to make you feel like you shouldn’t be excited about that first role. Just temper your excitement with a tiny bit of reality, so keep that resume updated and your network active. 

Speaking of networking, you need to. I know that sounds like an obvious bit of advice, and LinkedIn is great, but I suggest that you find additional ways to meet people. For example . . . I am a member of my local Junior League where I get the opportunity to network with other women in my area. There are so many online communities and online as well as in-person events where you can meet people who can help you on your path to a new career. 

No matter what the people selling all the career transition courses might say, you probably aren’t going to make six figures right off the bat. Of course, there are outliers in any situation . . . my point here is to make sure you fully understand the salary range for any role you apply to and to also not sell yourself short. You can and should be getting paid well!

This might be the hardest piece of advice to take . . . are you ready? You should consider looking locally for in-person work. I know that the dream is remote work, but it’s not for everyone and to be honest, it can be difficult to find a remote role. I worked remotely for a year and while I loved the people I worked with, remote work wasn’t really my jam. I like a routine and going into an office has been way better for my mental and physical health. 

And finally, not everyone is a corporate baddie and it’s ok if you don’t want to be. If you want to find yourself a quiet, comfortable job where you can enjoy your life and pay your bills, do it! 


Meet the Author

Cassie Piggott

Cassie Piggott is a former teacher and current Academic Advisor in Higher Education. Her favorite things are her husband, her ginger kid, her two dogs, and her PlayStation 5.


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