Book review: Career Leap

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Book review: Career Leap

Career Leap: How to Reinvent and Liberate Your Career
By Michelle Gibbings FIML CMgr

For most people, the era of spending their working lives in a single field and a single organisation has ended. Gibbings, a Chartered Manager and a Fellow of the Institute of Managers and Leaders, knows that better than anyone: she has made a number of radical career changes, including a shift from the corporate world to successful self-employment.

Some people make a leap after their job ceases to exist due to technology, globalisation, or a market shift. In other cases, the work is simply no longer satisfying, or the personal reasons for doing it have vanished. Either way, says Gibbings, a change can turn out well, if it is approached with the right mindset.

She is not proposing a blind jump into unknown waters. Just the opposite: she emphasises the need for careful research as to the new possibilities. There is, after all, little point in moving from one no-future job to another. Yes, looking at opportunities that connect to your interests and passions is good but there should always be an eye on the practicalities. Do the research, take advice from informed sources, and think about your career in organised, strategic terms, she says. And be honest with yourself.

This is where the real value of this book comes in. Gibbings provides a series of self-diagnostic tests for every stage of what she calls the Career Reinvention Cycle: assessing your current position, exploring and choosing your future options, moving into a new role, and advancing in your new career. She acknowledges that there are difficulties at each step and offers advice on how to go about the process, including some comments from people who have made career leaps (the views of ex-surfer Layne Beachley are particularly pertinent). Gibbings also points to her website, which offers further worksheets and resources, and the book includes a useful list of references as well.

Making a career change is always going to be challenging. It is a leap, but Gibbings is convincing when she says that it does not need to be a leap in the dark.

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Derek Parker

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