The first part of this two-part article focused on the work and principles shared by Herminia Ibara in her book, Working Identity. Loads of people would like to reinvent their working lives but don’t know the steps to take and when they do know, they aren’t certain of the outcomes of those steps. Herminia asserts that, “most of us know what we are trying to escape: the lockstep of a narrowly defined career, inauthentic or unstimulating work, numbing corporate politics, a lack of time for life outside of work. Finding an alternative that truly fits, like finding one’s mission in life, cannot be accomplished overnight.
It takes time, perseverance, and hard work. But effort isn’t enough; a sound method and the skill to put it into practice are also required. In the search for a career redirection we need to devote the greater part of our time and energy to action rather than reflection, to doing instead of planning. It tells us to give up the search for a ten-point plan and to accept instead a crooked path. But what appears to be a mysterious, road-to-Damascus process is actually a learning-by-doing practice that any of us can adopt. We start by taking action”.
Introducing the 4-Point Change Model (4PCmodel)
The 4PCmodel combines reflection and action. It is a useful model for anyone trying to get into a career for which the person doesn’t have prior training/education/experience. Lots of people leave school knowing that they do not want to work in fields that utilize that education. There is the medical doctor who doesn’t want to have anything to do with Medicine. Likewise the Electrical-Electronics graduate who wants to do business. Or is it the architect who would rather design and build dresses? The list is endless.
There is also a second category that could use The 4PCmodel. This category have worked for many years in a certain profession/industry but something in their gut tells them that they need to get into an entirely new arena. Or sometimes one is forced into a situation where one has to rethink present career choice due to an industryor organisation reshuffling or resizing. “What steps can I take if I fall into any of these three categories?” That question is what this article attempts to answer.
The4PCmodel says that your desire or goal to transit is enhanced when you focus on four areas simultaneously. That that effort causes a ripple effect whose outcome is much more than the sum of the parts. The temptation is to hope for that breakthrough moment where someone or some organisation in that desired field or profession would just take a look at you and suddenly say that “You are the person we need”. Eg imagine that you seek to transition into Information Technology from Banking. Are you hoping that suddenly (I believe in miracles by the way) an IT solutions company would just take a look at you and say “you would make a good programmer”. Of course not! So what are the four areas being espoused by this model? This model claims that you can get into a new profession/industry by combining your efforts around the following:
1) Reading and Research,
3) Academic route and
4) Work experience.
The 4PC model: Voracious Reading and Researching
Wrong data would always produce wrong results. If you are running very fast…really fast…in the wrong direction, increasing your speed or your focus wouldn’t still get you in the right destination. That is why reading and researching about your intended field is the most important step in transiting into an entirely different industry/profession. Whilst you are still in your present industry/profession, do all you can to get knowledge of the intended industry/profession, chiefly through reading and researching. Find out how that industry works through books, magazines, the internet etc. Understand the value delivery chain of that industry – attempt to find out how they make or lose money. You must know the thought leaders in that field. You must know the advancements that have been made within that industry.
The impact of reading is well underscored by these quotes: “Every man who knows how to read has it in his power to magnify himself, to multiply the ways in which he exists, to make his life full, significant, and interesting.” (Aldous Huxley). “You’re the same today as you’ll be in five years except for the people you meet and the books you read.” (Charlie “Tremendous” Jones). “The more you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” (Dr. Seuss). “Some people will lie, cheat, steal and back-stab to get ahead… and to think, all they have to do is READ.”(Fortune). “In the highest civilization, the book is still the highest delight. He who has once known its satisfactions is provided with a resource against calamity.”(Ralph Waldo Emerson). Reading opens the worlds of information and possibilities.Reading provides inspiration.
Reading provides intercourse with superior minds.Reading stimulates our God-given brains.Reading fires imagination (image in action). Reading can ignite some latent interest/talent in you.Reading can be a bridge from failure to success.
The 4PC model: Source Mentorship
Source for a mentor in that area. Mentors grant us access to their knowledge, relationships, successes and mistakes. They represent a shortcut into real life experience. A potential mentor is someone who has achieved some level of success in that industry/profession – particularly the type of success that you desire. You can also source an indirect mentor: through books. This is when you deliberately read book after book by the same author. “Mentorship is a personal developmental relationship in which a more experienced or more knowledgeable person helps to guide a less experienced or less knowledgeable person. However, true mentoring is more than just answering occasional questions or providing ad hoc help. It is about an ongoing relationship of learning, dialogue, and challenge”. (Wikipedia). “For every one of us that succeeds, it’s because there’s somebody there to show you the way out.” (Oprah Winfrey).
The 4PC model: Acquire Work Experience
This is a more obvious segment as it is the target of your entire career reinvention. And this is where a lot of people focus their thoughts and resources …and that is also why frustrations run high. This is because most times the people in the targeted industry can’t see why they should hire you. Your passion for the industry isn’t enough. They would like to see proofs of that passion and the proofs are in your pursuit of all the other three segments of the 4PCmodel. For this segment you would need an above average knowledge of job movement tools such as resume writing, interviewing skills, and creative job search.
I recommend you get a copy of my book, Getting a Job is a Job, as you would find a lot of helpful material regarding the job movement tools. Accessing a job in the target industry/profession would require that you see yourself as an apprentice. Be willing to work long hours, be willing to work with incommensurate (or nil) pay and be willing to stay the course. Remember you are working for skills and for access into that industry/profession.I’ve been working for many years and I think I’ve managed to work with some of the best people in the business, which has been rewarding and an apprenticeship.
The 4PC model: Acquire Academic Resources
We are in an intellectual age, an age and time of ideas. You would need to deepen your intellectual understanding of the targeted industry/profession through formal training. Get a degree, or a postgraduate degree. Attend seminars, and acquire local and international certifications. One of the best times to acquire these academic resources is while you are still in your current job. And this fourth segment is one of the critical levers of the 4PCmodel. As it turns out, it is now possible to find a seminar, a certification or a postgraduate qualification in virtually anything through face-to-face training or by distance learning.
You might ask, “Can I also use this model to transition into entrepreneurship?” And the answer is Yes! The only difference is that your target industry is entrepreneurship (business ownership). Start by taking some action today in any of the four segments enumerated here. Admit no excuses.
I leave you with this,
“It is possible for man to educate himself without help or support from others. In fact, when we learn the art of self-education (learning how to learn versus how to be taught) we will find, if not create, opportunity to find success beyond our wildest dreams. Self-educated people are not dependent on others for knowledge. If they need a specialized skill, they know how to acquire it without dependence on authority. Unknowingly, people are promoted by their ability to learn new skills fast. Bosses may not recognize how people learn, but they do recognize the results. People, who know how to educate themselves have choices, they have the ability to advance in any endeavor. There are many ways to acquire a skill that has value to someone else. Everyone is unique and this uniqueness has value, but only the individual can explore and discover what that uniqueness is. People, who do not depend on authority for guidance can start now. People, who want someone to show them the way, may never get started. Dependency on self to develop skills is a powerful skill in itself. This is the tool of super achievers”.