Pivot or Persevere?

While working on my earlier blogs, especially the failed one,  —um, okay, so they were all failures.  The one thing one gets from things that don’t go as planned is experience.  Cue the ‘wah-wah’ music. Yes, I have tons of experience. 🙂

 In creating this blog, I “pivoted” the earlier, failed blog, adjusting my objectives and niching down my audience to something that I interests and excites me–and draws on what I have learned—so that I have something to give to my audience.

So, I did a bit of both–pivoting AND persevering. 

I realize that even those earliest efforts of mine back in the early 1990s helped me along the way.  I learned how to do research on the Internet, which I used to my advantage in getting up to speed on New Blogging.  I learned to appreciate the confusion of my audience, as the information environment has become so crowded with resources that it is sometimes hard to think.   Spending time with all those food blogs, both the fabulous and the failed, gave me more perspective on what works — and what doesn’t work.  So, this blog is my pivot, a side-step that is part of a larger change of direction in my career and in life.

Take Stock but Don’t Beat Yourself: Pivots Can Be A Good Thing

Taking stock of where I’ve been with a clear, honest (but not too hard on myself) eye has taken years to learn.  I’ve had several career changes and I will probably have one or perhaps two more–even three–ahead of me. I’ve gone from sci-fi wannabee writer, to serious scholar, to bureaucratic mover-of-paper, to this more creative person (who can still pay the bills).

The necessity came from life. The courage and insight to do this came primarily from books, so as I’ve said before, you’ll see a good deal about books from me, but also videos to help you taste-test, and summaries to ease the burden.  Today I’m going to talk about another one of those books, Pivot.

Jenny Blake, the author of the excellent book Pivot, writes for the thirty-something technical worker, for the talented young people already suffering career setbacks, burnout, and frustration.  Career coach, successful author, former Google star, Jenny Blake is not just discussing the problem of young people: she’s talking about the problem of those she calls impacters.  Impacters come in all ages, genders, and packages.  These are those of us who want to change the world, grow, and see a project through to the end. These are the people who are most likely to be looking at engaging their careers more creatively, but truly, it’s good advice even for those who just want to have a more meaningful, fulfilling job.

Here’s her seven minute video in which she explains a little bit about her concept of a “pivot” from one thing to another. And here’s a short summary online that gives you some of the main ideas.

Blake takes a positive, constructive approach to career transition that dovetails well with some of the advice from Burkett and Evan’s Design Your Life.   The same building blocks are discussed: getting more education, formally or informally; shadowing people whose careers interest you; working with hobbies and “side-hustles” or “side-gigs” to develop skills, experience, and a better understanding of a new career direction–these are the same building blocks that career coaches everywhere offer their clients as the pathway out of their current roadblocked situation.  Blake’s book, however, goes beyond just good advice.  She offers a roadmap, or, more precisely, some ideas and tools you will need for building your own roadmap. 

While the examples and discussion in this book are geared toward the under forty set, the ideas from it have resonance and value for those at any age.  Drawing on earlier work, (the Lean Startup by Eric Ries), Blake is discussing the pivot,  the change in business strategy without a change in vision.  She defines a career pivot as doubling down on what is working to make a purposeful shift to a new, related direction.  Pivoting, she writes, is “an intentional, methodological process for nimbly navigating career changes.”  And learning how to pivot is the goal.

Blake loves charts and graphs for explaining things, and at times the book seems more like an engineering manual than a roadmap — but then, what new road doesn’t need some engineering?  Her advice seems almost laser pointed at people just like her, in her thirties, with a great deal of success already in their pockets, those folks who are her primary customers for her business-coaching.  However, it’s still a very helpful read for people outside of that audience.  Her advice is at heart practical, do-able, and flexible enough to provide important insights needed to figure out how to make important career pivots, no matter what your age or stage. 

I find the first half of her book very useful but when she wanders into the tools section, I got a bit lost.  This woman has color-coded her bookshelves. So not me. 🙂

Thank you for reading my post.

  More on this as we go.  ~ Lola

Disclaimer: I’m now an Amazon Affiliate. Links from my blogs where you buy things might get me literally a few pennies.  I’m saving up for a ten dollar Amazon gift-card that I will give to my favorite charity. 🙂  Thanks.


Author: Lola

Recovering academic, real-life, honest to cornflakes anthropologist (Ph.D. and fieldwork and everything), tech-head and social media researcher.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.