Reflections on my career and the changes

Wednesday June 16, I received a mail from Andrew Seaman with the question is the ‘Great Resignation’ here? I was triggered and started reading his message.

In the mail he asks me if I have advice for people making a shift right now – whether it’s landing a new job or making a career pivot?

First, thanks Andrew for selecting me, because of your thought I can add informed perspectives about the ever-changing world of work.

It is a nice moment to put some reflections on paper and share them with LinkedIn members to build them up.

You’re right I have been through changes in my career. Most of my changes have been forced by circumstances beyond my control. The outcomes of the changes have been in my control, and they all worked out fine. It takes effort to make a change work.

My first change was in 2001. I had been working 5 years as a breeding assistant in horticulture. I really loved that job. Being creative and working in a team to get new types of flowers. Whole day working with plants and pollen. Only my body did not like the pollen anymore after 5 years and started to tell me that I needed to change jobs. So, I took a 7-week holiday backpacking through New Zealand and talking to peers, strangers who were also backpacking, about my situation and collecting tips and tracks. I’m still grateful for all the people I met during that time. Contacts are lost, but their tips are still inside me. So, for 20s my advice is to talk to peers even if you don’t know them and collect their insights in your mind and build your decision on all those insights.

My second change started 10 years later, and it took me 6 years to really follow my heart. I was not comfortable with the way things were changing in the company I was working in. On the other side privately, I was just getting in a new stage. Starting a family. So, I did not do anything with my work feelings and that resulted in unhealthy situation and finally in an exit talk with my manager. At that moment, a difficult talk. Now looking back the best move to change my career. So, to 30s, 40s and 50s my advice is listening to your body. That is the most important adviser when it comes down to a healthy work situation.

In 2016 the biggest change in my career started. I had stopped a job after 15 years and the only thing I knew was that I wanted to work in IT and do something with data. So, I started with educating myself in that field, using edX as a starting point. I focussed on LinkedIn, checking out updates and job possibilities. Somebody I knew on LinkedIn invited me for a coffee talk and that ended up in a job in his company. I’m still grateful for the chance he offered me to learn BI on the job inside his company. For 20 months I found myself back and realised yes this is what I like. The company also changed, and BI got outsourced so when my contract was done, I was out on the job market again.

This time I was home for almost 1.5 years before I signed a new contract. Those 1.5 years were filled with study. Mostly online with edX and Microsoft into the data science direction. In November 2019 I had given up finding a job in 2019 and promised myself a break till January 2020, when a LinkedIn contact told me about a vacancy. I went for the talk, did not get the job, but the manager was impressed about what I had been doing over the last 1.5 years and had another opening in his team. I’m now in that job and it is a success, by hard work and learning a lot of new things. Covid-19 gave an extra challenge during the on-boarding because this was happening by skype and teams. Remote working is really nice to find a balance between work and family life. I feel blessed in this position and hope that returning back to the office will go smoothly but also will keep some remote work possibilities.

The biggest thing I learned in all my working years with ups and downs, is listen to your body and create a good balance between work and private life. My biggest advice is keep developing yourself and keep sharing how you are developing. There is always somebody that will notice it and who will help you forward in life and career.