Career Pivoting and Choosing Your Path - Lidya's Story

A friend sent through an interesting proposition recently, to be involved in Inspiring the Future - a school programme created to broaden young people’s horizons.

What was most alarming when I read through the website was how children under 13 see themselves in just one of the nine most popular jobs. The top nine jobs included sportsperson – way ahead at almost 18% – followed by vet, police officer, lecturer/teacher, social media influencer, artist, doctor, army/navy/airforce/firefighter, and farmer. This made me think about my journey and how I ended up in recruitment. Well let me tell you, it wasn’t straightforward and it's had lots of twists and turns, so I thought I’d share my story with you. 

At the age of five I was sent to a Steiner School, by the age of eight my family moved to Indonesia - I hadn’t learnt to read, write or spell yet. I had a lot of catching up to do, so I spent a year being homeschooled before being put into the Indonesian schooling system. 

During my last three years of high school, we moved back to New Zealand where I completed three years of NCEA. I headed to Otago to start a Bachelor of Applied Science majoring in Clothing Textiles and Marketing,  then went on to complete my Masters in Entrepreneurship. You’re likely starting to get a bit of a picture of how unstructured and unplanned my schooling was! 

This is where I hear you ask how I landed in recruitment. To be honest, at that age I had no idea what recruiters did, let alone that a profession like this existed! 

How did I end up in a career which has served me so well for the past seven years or so?

My first ever job was as a sales assistant for a textile importer. When I was offered a contract, I thought I had hit the jackpot and I was well on my way to becoming a buyer  - a lifelong dream! Little did I know I hated this profession and quickly realised this wasn’t where I wanted to be in the long run. Knowing I needed to change careers quickly, I took the time to uncover what motivated me, what my natural talents were and what I looked for in a role. 

I discovered that I needed to be in a people-centric/sales focused role, and be in an environment where I had the freedom to be creative/entrepreneurial and have the opportunity to develop my business acumen. I also knew I needed to  be in a role where I was kept busy juggling multiple conflicting priorities, continuously challenged and presented problems to solve. 

If you’ve found yourself at crossroads in your career, whether you have recently graduated, are considering pivoting or are being forced to due to coronavirus, then my advice would be to take the time to work on the following things: 

  • Reflect on your strengths and passion
  • If you’re a graduate, think about the part-time roles you naturally gravitated to while studying or at university and think about what parts of those jobs you enjoyed the most or least 
  • Don’t be afraid to potentially take six – 12 months off after completing your degree to work in a casual or temp role to find out what your strengths might be, and go out there and gain some worldly knowledge 
  • If you’re needing to pivot your career but needing to gain employment quickly, temping is a great option to tie you over and give you the opportunity to explore different work environments/types of roles 
  • Reflection! Take the time to reflect and if you have the option to, take time to sit back and decompress. It can be hard to gain perspective when you are in the thick of things. I find writing things down help me gain perspective and process information
  • Read different job ads and see which ones excite you the most
  • Reach out to your networks to understand what they do for a job and see if there is an opportunity to be mentored 
  • Work experience – see if there are opportunities to do work experience in your chosen field 
  • Think about your values and really take the time to find out about your potential employer’s values and whether these align with you 

And with this, I say good luck and remember, just because you chose to do a certain degree, this doesn’t mean you have to stick to it - I’m living proof of this!


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