Summary Written by Alyssa Burkus
"…when it comes to our careers, learning to pivot is Plan A. Pivoting, within our roles and throughout our careers, is the new normal."

- PIVOT, page 7

The Big Idea

Change Is the New Normal

"Some say the word ‘career’ itself is dead — a throwback to a bygone era — as we move increasingly toward a project-based economy."- PIVOT, page 7

As Blake says, “If change is the only constant, let’s get better at it.” Everywhere we look, the pace of change, through new technology and other influences, is creating a world where maintaining the status quo actually means you’re getting left behind.

For individuals, this means no longer being able to count on doing the same job, in the same way, for 30 or 40 years. As work changes, your skills need to change as well. Even if you’re not interested in moving upwards into management or leadership roles, you still have work to do to keep expanding the breadth and depth of your skills in your current role.

This likely doesn’t come as a surprise to most people reading this, but it may add to their stress. Instead of worrying that it’s another thing to add to your ever-growing to do list, start looking at it as a new way of thinking about small, incremental changes that can have a big impact to your career and work satisfaction.

Insight #1

Pivot Is a Mindset

"Pivoting is a mindset and a skill set, and you can get better at both."- PIVOT, page 8

One of the most important messages from Blake’s book is that getting skilled at pivoting isn’t about making continual or reckless changes. She isn’t proposing “reckless job hopping or quitting a job or folding a business at the first sign of displeasure.”

Instead, it’s about understanding that you need to regularly scan the landscape to think ahead to the skills you may need to build, based on strengths and successes you’ve had to date, and make plans for adjustments and changes as you move forward. It’s not about thinking about your career once in a while, but about adopting a new mindset for being open to and thinking about change on an ongoing basis.

Despite acknowledging that for some, pivoting will mean pursuing self-employment or launching a side business, Blake makes it clear that her book isn’t a “rally cry to quit your job or fighting against ‘the man’”, but rather to take control of guiding your career at every step and being adept at navigating a workplace that is changing continually.

In fact, pivots should become a more common and comfortable part of workplace conversations. We need to get better about talking about careers at work.

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Insight #2

Create a Pivot Culture

"The Pivot Method can become a shared language for having expansive career conversations. When used as a coaching framework, you can quickly help others brainstorm solutions to problems, set development goals, and identify ambitious yet achievable next steps."- PIVOT, page 207

There’s a fifth step in the Pivot Method—Lead. Blake emphasizes that the pivot mindset needs to extend to leaders in organizations as well, not only in their own work, but encouraging career pivots in the teams they lead as well. Weaving career conversations into the workplace culture is essential.

In some organizations, leaders can feel anxious about talking to employees about their careers, whether worrying that their organization structure lacks enough hierarchical progressions to offer many promotions, or unsure about how to provide the “right” advice. By thinking about careers as a series of pivots with skill-building to build breadth and range, career conversations can become more about growth (in many directions), and less about progression.

As I read the book, Blake’s message about looking back and “planting” before moving forward really struck a chord. In my efforts to continually evolve my business to meet the changing needs of my clients, I haven’t done a great job of always anchoring to elements that were already working well. PIVOT has pushed me to reflect on my career and my goals in new ways, and I’ve been thinking differently about how to map the next phase of my work in the months ahead.

With in-depth stories and highlights from Blake’s clients and own experience, PIVOT provides lots of examples of how others have embraced using pivots to build new steps forward in their careers. Whether thinking about how or where to begin broadening your skills within your current role, or looking to make significant changes in the next evolution of your work, PIVOT gives you a clear process and approach for navigating what’s next.

Read the book

Get PIVOT on Amazon.

Jenny Blake

Jenny Blake is an author, career and business strategist and international speaker who helps smart people organize their brain, move beyond burnout, and build sustainable, dynamic careers they love. With two years at a technology start-up as the first employee, five years at Google on the Training and Career Development teams, and over five years of running her own business, Jenny combines her love of technology with her superpower of simplifying complexity to help clients pivot their career or business.

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