By Lee Tice
I’ve always been driven.
When I discovered my love of programming as a college intern at a local IT company, I decided to minor in computer science. When I wanted to level up my business knowledge, I used my learning stipend to get an MBA.
And taking advantage of these opportunities led to a rewarding career and path to retirement. But at the midpoint of my career, instead of feeling a sense of accomplishment, I found myself wondering, “is it all downhill from here?”
Something about the thought of continuing down the same, predictable path perturbed me. In the second half of my career, I wanted to try something different, something that would help others and expand my horizons.
Working at BetterUp transformed how I think about my career progression. With the right mindset and intentions, pivoting late in your career is not only possible, but it can also change your life.
Preparing for a transition
During the pandemic, several friends went through career crises. We met often on Zoom, sharing beers and talking about what they were planning to do next.
Those conversations forced me to evaluate what I wanted, too. And I realized I wanted something new.
But how was I going to get there? I needed a plan, not a pipedream! So,
- I took stock of my skills - I hired a resume writer who had me fill out a lengthy worksheet and reach out to old colleagues for feedback. When his first draft came back, I cried. He’d laid out all of my skills in such a natural, authentic way. Having a third-party perspective gave me confidence that I’d find what I was looking for.
- I made a list of what I wanted - I figured I’d know the right job when I saw it. But the more positions I looked at, the more I realized I needed a list of requirements. I decided I wanted a role that would stretch me intellectually at a company with a welcoming culture. I wanted diverse peers, and I wanted to work on products that positively impact people’s lives.
- I responded to what fit my requirements - Sending cold resumes into the void wasn’t going to work, so I started replying to LinkedIn messages. When a BetterUp recruiter contacted me, I read the company’s mission statement and sat there stunned. It was like my grand plan was coming together.
When I got an offer from BetterUp, I was ecstatic. Throughout the interview process, it was clear that BetterUp is a values-driven company. Their mission, “to help everyone live with clarity, purpose, and passion,” was exactly the impact I wanted to make. And as a fast-growing startup, I knew there would be endless opportunities for learning and growth. This new job met all my requirements and more. But then the anxiety started to creep in. Would I adapt to the changes? Was I actually going to find my purpose?
These thoughts are normal and inescapable. Now that I’m on the other side, I have some advice and reassurance for anyone navigating a major career transition.
Give yourself grace
There are some tough parts of onboarding 一 even at your dream job. BetterUp was a culture shock, and, at first, I felt like a fish out of water.
Other new hires had worked at fast-paced startups before and got the hang of everything quickly. But I wasn’t sure what to prioritize and felt disoriented looking at all the opportunities 一 and work 一 that lay ahead of us.
Thankfully, BetterUp provides every employee with a BetterUp Coach. Working with my coach helped me normalize what I was feeling. I learned tools to help combat my sense of overwhelm, navigate uncertainty, and maintain focus on how my contributions were bettering other people’s lives.
Push your limits
It’s so cliché, but it’s true 一 you grow every time you step outside your comfort zone.
A great example of this happened when one of our executives asked me to fly to Amsterdam to speak at a conference on short notice after the original plans fell through.
The thought of traveling to a new country alone and whipping up a speech in less than a week made me want to throw up! But one of the reasons I had worked so hard to get to BetterUp was that I wanted to challenge myself.
It was terrifying, but I did it. And I surprised myself! On the other side of the jitters and nausea, I felt a deep sense of connection in sharing my story with others. Now, when I encounter a stressful situation, I remind myself how far I’ve come and how far I can go.
Appreciate the journey
A few years ago, I never would’ve predicted that every line of code I write would impact someone’s life.
But at BetterUp, I’m doing just that.
I get to solve interesting problems and work with talented peers from all over the world every day. Pausing to appreciate the impact we’re making in people’s lives deeply connects me to my purpose.
Is it time for your next career move?
I hope hearing my story can help you gain the confidence needed to take your next big leap. Although it may not be an easy road, you can find a job that truly resonates with you, no matter what stage of your career you’re in.
And if the BetterUp mission aligns with your purpose, consider one of our open roles. You never know 一 it may change your life. It did for me.