The Career Pivot

8 min read

In addition, career pivots offer:

P  = possibilities

I  = interactions

V = value

O = opportunity

T = transferable assets

S = satisfaction


The term “pivot” is commonly used in start-up tech companies when they implement revisions or adjust what they do in response to changing market conditions. Rather than stubbornly stick to one idea that might not be successful, a company will pivot to a new idea. As the career changer, a pivot puts you on a new path with a new way of thinking. It often means venturing into something unknown, unfamiliar and uncomfortable. In both cases, a pivot is not starting over; it is using what you have in new ways. A pivot opens you up to new possibilities.

In the music industry, we see many instances of artists shifting to embrace new possibilities. Madonna, Beyoncé, and Lady Gaga change styles and often portray new personalities as they market themselves in fresh, new ways.


Other musicians pivot to broaden interactions, inviting novel perspectives and connections. Prominent R & B artist Lionel Richie recently moved outside his genre to collaborate with well-known country stars on his latest album. Innovative partnerships help artists stay current and engage with new fans.


As the examples above illustrate, pivots continually create new value for you and others when you leverage your growing skill sets and accumulated experiences. As you become more comfortable with change, uncertainty, new connections, and your evolving surroundings, you become nimble at addressing shifting market conditions. Nimble athletes are quick and light in movement. Similarly, nimble career pivoters are quick to comprehend and adapt with ease in new situations.


The new circumstances, interactions and challenges encountered during a pivot provide opportunities to increase your awareness of others’ perspectives, as well as showcase your flexibility and openness to innovation. In addition, as you effectively face stressors and recover quickly, you demonstrate your resilience as you persist toward your vision. In this way, Reid Hoffman has built upon and transported his experiences to build new opportunities as he has pivoted from social networking to PayPal™ to LinkedIn.

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