The Storyteller’s Irony: A Career Transition Journey

I got a letter from the State of California a couple of weeks ago. At first, I was worried that it was some new business tax I was gonna hafta pay. It was not. My heart dropped, nonetheless. The letter was notice that it’s coming up on time to renew my registration as an Associate Clinical Social Worker. I forgot that was coming due. I thought I was moving along quite nicely with my decision to leave social work but getting that renewal notice let me know my emotions are still a bit wrapped up in the career I spent years working to build. This whole career transition thing is hard.

Kerry Washington as Olivia Pope crying

In the end, I’m a communicator, and I always have been (even if I don’t care about updating my blog on a regular basis). Before I started graduate school, I was working to help young people explore possibilities for creating their own life stories beyond high school. Even in my work as a volunteer& community outreach coordinator, I focused on sharing the stories of the young people I was advocating for.Every iteration of my PhD plans has always been about getting young people’s stories of homelessness out in front of the folks who can do something about the problem. I even learned documentary production to incorporate into my dissertation (that got shut down). I could go on but when it boils down to it, I just want to help people tell their stories. (ICYMI, I discussed why I’m making the transition away from clinical work in my last post.)

How ironic, then, that the hardest part of my career transition has
been figuring out how to tell my own career transition story?

My resume is almost 100% ready to go, but the cover letter… There’s a whole rant in there somewhere about the fussing that goes into preparing job search materials. A running joke amongst friends is how applying for most jobs often feels a lot harder than actually doing the job once you get it. Something else of interest: this conversation about the relevance of cover letters that’s happening on LinkedIn. As much as cover letters frustrate me everyone, I agree that it’s a great opportunity for candidates who need to do a li’l s’plainin’ about how their work history translate to the jobs they’re applying for. But knowing how much effort goes into writing a good letter, compared to knowing that many most(?) hiring managers don’t read them makes it that much more frustrating.

It’s okay, though. Fortunately, I’ve got some help from an associate in the field and we’re getting update 10/30: we got all my materials together and I’ve got some website improvement tips awaiting my action (stay tuned!) Thankfully, my coach is very sweet and patient with me, lol. Check out my updated LinkedIn page and résumé.

Have you worked with an advisor or career coach as part of a career transition? How did that work out for you? Tell me about it in the comments!


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