We go back to school for Career transitions. I did!


We go “back to school” for Career transitions. I did! This is my stimulus to all those in transition mode. Kind of a log on the steps I’ve gone through, making my own career transition. Going out of our comfort zones, means that we must strive not only to adapt in Change, but improve competence and our Worldviews.

We go “back to school” for Career transitions. I did!

Back in the old-days an employee with a degree, and MBA and job safety would go for years without training. I don’t mean the on-the-job, but training that enlarges stimuli and perspectives, on soft and hard skills. Growing and developing competence wasn’t that clear of a target if you had an above average performance.

Today, we are in the middle of a devastating transformation. No matter what life, career, or business transition you’re in, one thing is clear: the knowledge economy is everywhere around you. In any device, every interaction, in an app, at any conference. People have started breaking out of their silos, to share tonnes of ideas, actionable push, and fascinating experience. Vloggers, Influencers, quote-maniacs, experts, coaches, agencies and trainers for anything you can desire (from marriage consultants, up to life and future mentors). Not always the best, but you have options.

Can you really grasp that:

You can find, learn, and exploit anything you can imagine:

  • Babel app teaches you any language with a smartphone and a pair of headphones
  • Cursera, Khan, Udemy, Teachable aggregate billions of students
  • In the last 5 years, only, there were announced 150 global restructuring programmes (…and startups as well)
  • Youtube is the 2nd largest search ‘machine’ (you can find videos from how to boil an egg, up to how to create your website)

When I left Ericsson

It was time for Change. I knew it was coming. After two years abroad (and 7 of hard-work), I’ve seen the business and innovation hurdles, the people complacency and the resistance to change. For me it was liberating, avoiding a burnout. It was the needed trouble, to sit down with myself and rethink a career of 30 consecutive years.

But where do you start? Internet was the place to go. I’ve started browsing around. From link to link, I was transferred to 1-2 webinars, 1 growth marketing school, reading books suggested by influencers. I’ve done it all. My late night sessions, when kids were sleeping, were full-class time.

Of course, digital was everywhere. Digital this, digital that. But behind the lines and the hype, I’ve started realizing the steps to go, if I wanted to build a business.

Now, take a notepad

No1. Research what’s going on

Do your audit. Hear opinions. Capture the market sentiment. Go to professionals you trust and listen to their thoughts and estimates. This is a valuable exchange compared to the “Have me in mind, I’ll send you my CV”. You can grab insights on tiny details you haven’t thought of. I’ve done 360 personal discussions with former customers, peers, partners sampling from business owners, marketers, and startups.

No2. Be really open-minded

Don’t hold assumptions out of your ‘safety zone’, what you were good at. In the discussions I’ve had, there were many ‘pivot’ directions on offer since they wanted to exploit my professional experience. Have a really open mind to this. The change means accepting that you’re on new grounds.

No3. Evaluate your best learning sources

Select the best learning and insight sources. Yes, pay for Seth Godin’s Marketing and not some €50 internet marketing(?) seminar by the Mr. Fabulous-have-done-nothing-but-have-done-it-all. Go into Google free learning sources, Teachable, Convertkit, you name it. They are offering tonnes of experience, and at the end of the day, they are the internet tools for any physical or digital business you think to go into.

No4. Investigate partners

Talk and investigate partnerships. Might not be the best, might not be your first priority, but be open and clear: “What if we could X? I’m not sure we can, but let’s discuss the prospect”). If you carefully see around you, new models, startups, companies are created by the unification of complementary forces and minds. There goes the old-fashioned model of business owners “me-myself-I”

No5. Review and reposition yourself

Revisit your Brand. I’ve gone through a transition counseling to reposition myself for a new job search but reading between the lines, I’ve realized that I should go in the real market and create. I’ve written for others, for years, many plans, ideas, scripts, and campaigns. Now it was the time to do it for me.

No6. Don’t get distracted

There are times of anxiety, boredom, feeling out of your waters. There are times of being really alone in silence. Stick to your “building-brick-by-brick” wall (don’t forget your journey), exercise, and go out for walking (sorry to the sports’ enthusiasts, I’m a bit lazy to jog). Breathe the fresh air and rethink the feedback X, the issue Y, the webinar Z in retrospective. This practice leads to new discoveries and ‘a-ha’ moments.

No7. Organize your learnings

Use Office’s OneNote to take notes, compile info, paste from the web, and organize all your learning materials, trends, quotes, and thoughts. Segment those in Learning, Market, Trends, Me (+ / -) and update it constantly. You have it on desktop, on-the-go, to any device and costs less.

No8. Work on your model canvas

Start assembling the factory line: vision-target (industry, area, higher purpose, brand proposition), business targets (income, from who, how, when, your role, partners, delivery, pricing-value, content). Believe me, it will be a huge-huge project plan. But if you put all the details, not only you will follow-through with ease, but you get a new purpose. No matter if you’ll start a thematic farm, or just a website steps are the same. But wait, go to No9.

No9. Use know-how

Dive into the partners. They are your knowledge partners. They are everywhere, 24/7, online. Seth Godin for Marketing seminar and innovation. WordPress market, themes, template (it might take you months if you don’t know what you look for, and you simply gaze upon aesthetics). Patt Flynn on Podcasting. and then The PodcastAnswerMan. Blog Success for blog strategy, design, implementation and SEO efforts. Their learnings and input are essentials (the core) before starting implementation. They give you hints that improve your whole plan. Sometimes unpleasant feedback, but needed one.

No10.  Test what you’re planning

Necessary ‘beta-testing’. Now be very selective. You know what they say about opinions… Select up to 10 people you trust as real experts in their field. My list had a representative sample of new economy ambassadors, old-school experienced managers, academics from abroad, and all gave me their opinion on my more-finished proposition. Too many words, low-cost, more content on X? All kinds of issues were addressed. Don’t forget your OneNote.

The pace of Change will never be as slow as it is today.

No11. Create Content

No matter what you will do, Content is key (and King). From your CV, up to an exports’ sales brochure or a Facebook post, everything should be treated with great care, links, photos, spell-checks, and feedback (I should have named this post “Feedback lessons”). As we speak, I have in my disk Content to facilitate my first 10 months.

No 12. Start executing

It was time for the implementation part. Here’s the tricky part. If you put too many requirements, to start simultaneously your business with, then you will delay, or even fail to launch. Execution is the 90% of success, yes, even more than the strategy. I haven’t finished yet, but the execution is a lengthy journey, with constant improvements and opportunities to upgrade….you know, it’s that very fabric that makes businessmen pivot, and improve (those who do).

No13. Don’t you stand in your way!

In all of the above (and much more that will come), I haven’t shed enough light, to a big obstacle: it’s us! Our fears, anxieties, sleepless nights, income worries, nerves and mental health are all at risk, let’s accept that! But the energy I felt again, kept me alive and kicking. The passion to deliver my plan was like a volcano inside. I said to myself, I’m a fighter, not a quitter.

No14. Positive people

Surround yourself with positive people. It’s a response mechanism to all the things you aspire to, avoiding hecklers and haters. You can’t create with the misery-futurists as I call them, the trouble-believers, the pessimists.

No15. Encouraging support

You need support and encouragement. My wife was there to support, as she always does. She kept our family together when I was almost two years away in Stockholm and other parts of the world (I get pissed when I hear young ladies complaining about household issues…). Also, encouragement comes from the things you decide to follow, learn, read; we sometimes underestimate this angle.

No16. Be a ‘digital native’

Try to master everything in the internet tools‘ domain: SEO, ads, e-mail systems, WordPress, name check, domain, hosting, SSL, creative in canva.com, podcasting. All these great, practical, low-cost inventions! How do they work, what you do, when to use and for what. It took me 4 months, but now I can advise a business owner better than all the digital gurus together (having in my sleeve the strategy and transformation models know-how). Bonus, the website you see is my baby, my own creative creation!

No17. Be out there

Don’t forget the physical world, mingling, networking, speaking, presenting and above all supporting communities. You get a soul ‘food’ back, you learn more, and you develop your presence. All these, in turn, give you a positive sentiment and good reception on things that follow.

No18. Show your difference & ethics

Start becoming loud and cynical about low-value practices, amateur services – in other words, develop your own benchmark (if you can back this up). Now, I can say (being independent), that I stand against the fake solutions and people that have destroyed brands, companies, jobs, careers and young talent. And not only I’m vocal about it, but I will disposition them with my content.

No19. Life balance

Find time to balance all your doings and family, which is important for me. It’s like an investment. Stand still to hear the guitar tuning, go to the basketball court for a game. Be close to them as much as you can, the same very minute you have your anxiety and worries. It’s hard to live both realities, haven’t mastered it yet, but I always try more.

No20. Have a sense-making purpose

I will never feel again the complacency and the resistance to change I’ve lived through on the corporate grounds. You were saying to a colleague “You need this skill, or project – let me help you” and you were getting back arrogance or communication breakdown. I will pitch for ideas and for a decent revenue for my own value exchanges and contributions, without the routine and repetition that is produced in the agency world.

If you, my dear reader, consider the question mark of Change ahead, there only one take from all of the above. Get prepared in advance. I wasn’t that really prepared. No one is really ever prepared. But preparing means a) emotional work and b) hard skills preparation. I’m saying this all the time to youngsters when it comes to the career and domain. I’m saying the same to all of us. The pace of Change will never be as slow as it is today.

What should we do? Sit and wait?

Stay tuned in this blog and send me your feedback.

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