Career Transitions Are No Longer Shameful


While many of the challenges for young people getting into the workplace are age-old, others are new.  One of the shifts that has occurred is that career transitions are happening far more frequently – both voluntarily and involuntarily.

I spoke recently with the people at Colaborator  a project collaboration network made by filmmakers for filmmakers that creates access through transparency.  They are a group of creative and motivated millennials looking to use collaborative digital platforms to develop, produce and distribute content in a more effective and efficient manner.  One of their concerns is making sure that young professionals have access to opportunities where they can grow and demonstrate their talents.

Now, as in the past, many people think they should be ashamed if they don’t make their entire career at one company – or at least spend a significant chunk of their careers as “loyal” employees.  But times have changed, and that kind of thinking is no longer a rule that makes sense.​  Social scientists predict that Millennials will hold something like a dozen jobs by the time they’re in their 40s.  Boomers are facing a more fragmented workforce where their stable jobs are being eliminated on the assumption that younger workers are cheaper and more in touch with the way business is run today.

Removing the stigma associated with changing jobs is an important first step for Boomers and Millennials alike to understand that a rapidly changing workplace is going to require a similarly changeable and adaptable work force.  As the saying goes:  one door closes, but another door opens.  The challenge is to keep reframing our sense of who we are, and what we’re capable of, in order to pivot to the opportunities that are actually out there for us – regardless of generation.  We can’t afford to feel badly about the changes and disruptions happening all around us.  They are not our fault.  Nor can we afford to stay attached to the job descriptions and roles that we’ve played in the past.  We need to be open to constant reinvention and reconfiguration of our skills and experiences in order to stay current, and to stay valuable.

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John Tarnoff is an executive and career transition coach, speaker, and author who supports mid and late-career professionals in defining, planning, and achieving more meaningful and sustainable careers.

Fired 39% during his 35 years as a film producer, studio executive and tech entrepreneur, he learned how to turn setbacks into successes in a volatile business. He reinvented his own career at 50, earning a master’s degree in counseling psychology to share his career lessons with others going through similar challenges.

Since leaving entertainment in 2010, John has coached individuals, groups, and led career workshops for university alumni, including for UCLA’s Anderson School of Management. Corporate coaching clients have included Bank of America, Bridgewater Assoc., Levi-Strauss, Softbank, TD Ameritrade, and Thrive Global.

He is the author of the best-selling Boomer Reinvention: How to Create your Dream Career Over 50 and has been named a Top Influencer in Aging by PBS/NextAvenue.


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