Five Tips to Reinvent Your Career at Any Stage of Life 

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I recently made the choice to quit my corporate job. After putting up with the same negativity and toxic work environment for years, I decided it was time to go. I could feel this coming for weeks, and I had mentally prepared myself with the departure conversation. When I made the exit, it was on my terms and based on my principles. I finally felt I was in charge of my destiny. I basked in this moment for about, four days then arrived at the “holy crap” moment of – what now? I realized I wasn’t sure of what I actually wanted to do next. Being free from that job was what I had been waiting for, but that was now topped with a big red bow called fear. Despite my outward courage and good intentions, I was terrified at the core. I knew I could survive financially for a while but didn’t want to sit still at the same time. I had to take a deep breath – several actually – and try and enjoy the fact that I now had the space to evaluate what was going to fulfill me personally and professionally.  

In this self-reflection period, I realized I could take this time to reinvent myself. I had known I wanted to reinvent myself for some time – the thought of leaving corporate America and doing my own thing felt like a dream for years. I had this conversation with friends and colleagues over lunch or cocktails, kind of fantasizing about the what-ifs, but now I really had the opportunity.  

If you are in this position now or know you will be in the near future, take a deep breath and consider the gift of freedom, but remove the big red bow of fear. You can find a path that is right for you, it will just take time and effort. Here are five tips to help you along as you reinvent yourself: 

  1. Skillset Transfer

Consider your history and think about what you are good at. Maybe it’s accounting or sales, but know what your niche is and at what skill you are the most confident. Stick with that skill and your transition to renewal will provide confidence and give you a foundation.  

  1. Focus on Our Core

Although your years may have been spent in marketing, has it been satisfying?  Meaning, did you love the actual task of being a marketer, or perhaps it was the ability to tap into your creative senses that brought gratification. The point here is to connect with what inspires you at the core of your being 

  1. Realize Your Priorities

Make a list to identify what your top priorities are in the next phase of your life. Write down what you really want. Is it having a certain job? Is it having financial stability? Is it having more time with your family? This will help you vet what is really important to you. From here you can shape the center of your reinvention plans around your wants and needs.   

  1. Practice Patience with Yourself

This is the hard part –  learning to have patience with you. If you don’t have the answers to your big questions immediately, sit with it. This did not occur to me initially, as I am one impatient person. By practicing patience, I took immense pressure off myself. Having patience also freed up my mind, and more ideas surfaced as a result.  

  1. 5. Be List-less

Don’t rely on your “list.”  What is a list you may ask? All too often we portray ourselves to one another as a list. We list our accomplishments, degrees, employers, and a bunch of other jargon that people tune out. We think this act of “listing” will help others understand who we are and validate our existence. Newsflash, no one cares. Everyone has a list. Let go of the list, especially while reinventing yourself. This will get you closer to renewal and realizing your true definition. It’s not that you were an executive of a company for 12 years and were promoted to VP, it is that you led people and helped them achieve their goals – that is your specialty.  How you impact others is what really defines you and is how you make your mark. Explore this thought for your reinvention, and you will thrive. 

Reinvention is scary. It is uncomfortable and is full of the unknown. We all want answers to our big questions and to quell any uncertainty immediately. Take some space, be thoughtful and patient with yourself. Remember that this is a process and appreciate this time of exploration. 


Holly Caplan

Holly Caplan is a mom, workplace issues expert, career coach and author of Surviving the Dick Clique: A Girl's Guide to Surviving the Male Dominated Corporate World.

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