January 2020

IT’S 2020, NOW WHAT?

If you’re thinking about changing your professional field (or you know someone who is), consider this. 

Be patient with yourself. It can take people at least two years on average to move from “I want something new, but I don’t know what” to embarking on a different career (it took me four years). Be experimental. You might decide after speaking to a dozen lawyers that becoming a litigator is not right for you after all. But along the way you’ve probably gained insights into what motivates you, which you can apply to your search. Be organized. For example, invest in a coach (no surprise there) or do some research. Jenny Blake’s ‘Pivot: The Only Move that Matters is Your Next One’ is a pragmatic approach to making a plan for people who want a change or are confronting unwanted change at work. One more thing: be good to yourself.


Have you been in a job interview and felt stuck between nodding politely when you disagree with a panelist and saying what’s on your mind? Coach and author Caroline Stokes passed on useful tips and insights in Harvard Business Review. My favorite: the way an interviewer responds to your respectfully stated and non-judgmental different point of view can reveal whether the organization is right for you.

Renowned couples’ therapist and author Esther Perel (‘Mating in Captivity’) is turning her attention to workplace relationships in a new podcast, ‘How’s Work?’ It premiered in November, featuring two friends who went into business together, after flying as a crew in a U.S. Navy jet in Afghanistan and Iraq, and are now thinking about going their separate ways. A December podcast looked at starting over after a layoff. Reflective, useful and thought-provoking.


Tim Harford, aka The Undercover Economist, author and Financial Times columnist, is writing one book review per week this year. Tim connects ideas from different fields in a way that can stir my (sometimes dormant) creativity.

Choreographer and dancer Merce Cunningham had a 70-year career. He was a ‘fierce collaborator, a chance taker, a boundless innovator …’ according to the Merce Cunningham Trust. I watched a documentary film about his work this month. I loved his observation that he was inspired to bring together what legs can do in classical ballet with what torsos can do in contemporary dance.


“The only way to do it is to do it.” Merce Cunningham, 1919-2009

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