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A man in a checkered shirt contemplates his next move on the chess board in front of him

By Mary Beth Barrett-Newman

Mary Beth Barrett-Newman is President of 2nd Career Consulting, She spent almost 30 years in the corporate world and brings her experience, expertise and enthusiasm as she coaches clients on their journey to a new position. Mary Beth is a frequent contributor to the iRelaunch blog and podcast and is a moderator of the the iRelaunch Return to Work Forum on Facebook.

Spring is a time of change, especially here in the Midwest, where I live. The grass starts to turn green again (finally!), the buds start appearing on trees and the early flowers like daffodils begin to appear. Perhaps this is the reason, many of the relaunchers I’m working with have also been talking about making a change; pivoting to a new career.

A common question that relaunchers have is “Should I return to the type of industry, field or job that I worked at in the past, or is this an opportunity to pivot to something new?” Great question! Let’s explore how to answer this.

One of the advantages of taking a career break is that you’ve had an opportunity to be involved in things that you didn’t have time for, or exposure to, earlier in your career. Perhaps you became involved in a nonprofit organization in your community, volunteered at your children’s school, or became an advocate for a person with a health issue. Your eyes were opened to areas you hadn’t previously been exposed to. If you, like many others, find yourself having these questions swirling in your head, how do you determine what to do?

Exploring! This period of relaunching your career can be a great opportunity to investigate various jobs or fields that interest you, as well as researching the job or field that you were in prior to your career break. Given the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on so many businesses, many roles and fields may not look the same as they did 2+ years ago. While some may no longer exist, others may have been created.

How does someone do this “exploring” and decide what makes sense for them today?

Thinking of this phase of your job search as a large research project can help provide a framework. Here are some basic steps to take in your exploration:

  • Make a list of some of the jobs, companies or fields you find interesting.
  • Who do you know that has that job, works at that company or is in that field? Expanding your LinkedIn network can provide many of these answers for you.
  • Set up informational interviews with more than one person in these areas of interest. It’s important to get more than one person’s insights and perspective. Start crossing off things that you no longer find interesting.
  • For the areas that continue to intrigue you, start doing more research.
  • What type of education, experience is required? What is the compensation? Are these a fit for you? Onetonline.org is a great government website that can help you with some of the data you’ll need.
  • Look at job descriptions. Do you have what’s required? If not, are you willing to gain additional education, certifications, etc. to be a qualified candidate? Be realistic.
  • Reach back to those initial contacts, as well as others, to do more in-depth informational interviews. It’s a great way to not only gather information, but also make contacts with people who maybe helpful in your job search.

Change can both be scary and exciting. Your relaunch may provide a unique opportunity to pivot to a new career path.



Don't relaunch alone! Join our growing relauncher communities on Facebook and LinkedIn. For more great advice and guidance on your relaunch and to receive updates on when return to work programs are accepting applications, events for relaunchers and more, be sure to sign up for our Return to Work Report and follow us on social media to stay informed!