From HR to high school teaching. How to "career leap" and land on your feet.


How we work is changing. The gig economy and the transition to an automated and fully flexible workforce are here. Yet most of us are still unprepared for what these changes mean for us. You’re still encouraged to think of your career as linear: entering the workforce and exploring a few roles, then midway through your career landing something that keeps you happy until retirement.

Careers these days are fluid, organic and adaptive, which means they need a degree of reinvention.

Gone is the notion of one organisation and one role or function for life. Gone is the notion that someone will plan your career for you, and you can sit back and just let it happen. You need to get comfortable being able to shift, shape and reinvent your career at multiple stages throughout your life. You need to get ready to leap. Here’s ten steps to get you started.

1. Check how fit your career is

Assessing your career periodically helps you determine whether you are in a rut or holding on to an unrealistic, outdated view of your career. It also challenges you to think about what may need to shift and what you may need to do more or less of to ensure a successful, sustainable and rewarding career.

Holly Wainwright, Mia Freedman and Jessie Stephens discuss dealing with a bad boss or manager at work, on Mamamia Out Loud. Post continues.

2. Look at what’s holding you back

Look at what may be holding you back from making certain career choices. Identify your why – your purpose – all in the context of the life you want to have and your life circumstances.


3. Explore what your options are

Understand your tolerance for change and risk as it relates to your career, identify your strengths, and know how the world of work is changing to be able to identify options you can progress.

4. Choose what you will progress

Filter your many options to find your sweet spot – the options that fit with your life circumstances, goals and willingness to take a risk.

5. Construct your plan to follow

Build your plan to execute your career leap. This includes considering all the key elements that need to be in place to make it happen, and how you are going to target and measure your progress.

6. Shape your new career identity

Your career identity will shift as your career progresses. It’s important to understand this and consciously cultivate an identity that works for you. It starts with understanding how you see yourself and how others see you. Only then can you work out what may need to change.

7. Influence how you enter the market

In today’s marketplace first impressions count, not just face to face but also online. In fact, it’s now more than likely your first encounter will be online. You need to build your online presence as well as manage your network in a way that suits your career leap destination.

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8. Focus and make each day matter

None of this happens by accident and managing your career now and into the future requires you to be deliberate about what you do and when you make a career leap. You’ll need to manage your energy, manage your exit from your current job and negotiate wisely.

9. Launch and transition your career leap well

Landing a new job takes time, but once you are there the effort doesn’t stop. It takes effort and planning to make sure you launch your leap and land it well. You’ll need to take time to embed the leap, and then expand it so you are well positioned for what comes next in your career.

10. Celebrate, but know you’ll probably want to do this all again

You’ll not just leap once in your career. You’ll do it multiple times. Celebrating your achievements is important, whilst keeping one eye looking ahead to the future.

The legendary actress Mae West said:

You only live once. But if you do it right, once is enough!

So step up, leap forward in your career and live well.

Michelle Gibbings is a change leadership and career expert and founder of Change Meridian. Michelle works with leaders and teams to help them accelerate progress. She is the Author of ‘Step Up: How to Build Your Influence at Work and ‘Career Leap: How to Reinvent and Liberate your Career’. For more information visit Michelle’s website or email her at