I made the huge change from litigation to transactional work and from private practice to being an in-house attorney. I was previously doing high-stakes litigation, most of it out of state. I did all the behind-the-scenes work “ all the drafting, all the research “ which I didn’t find exciting. I would have liked to be in court arguing, but I was spending 11 hours a day or so in front of my computer researching and writing. I didn’t like writing those long memoranda and motions. Transactional work is different. I like it better because I deal with discrete issues. I meet with clients almost every day to see what their needs are for a particular transaction. They are internal clients, such as people in the marketing department. I haven’t gotten bored. I’m very happy. This may be one of the first times I’ve felt excited about going to work.
You can find some additional career-change stories at the the Web site of DBM, a global human-capital management-services firm (While the purpose of the stories is to promote DBM’s services, the storytelling in them provides some good models).
Telling compelling stories as you transition from one role to the next, one organization to the next, helps the listener feel invested in your success, a scenario that bodes well when the storyteller is a job-seeker, and the listener is an employer, contend Harvard Business Review writers Ibarra and Lineback. The authors describe a worker who developed and told change stories about a bankruptcy, a turnaround, and a rapid reorganization, eventually garnering referrals to employers and job interviews. In another example, a worker learned more about her career passions and became more committed to a planned career change each time she told her story by writing a cover letter, participating in a job interview, or networking with friends.
Change skills should be a major focus of the stories you tell as you progress from one organization to the next. See how scholars and experts characterize these skills.