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Beyond The Work: Thinking of making a career change? For The Love of Work’s Dr. Sonia Kang tells us why now might be a great time to reinvent yourself.

Written by: Dr. Sonia Kang, Associate Professor of Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management and Host of hit podcast For the Love of Work

Hi! I’m Dr Sonia Kang, host of For the Love of Work, a podcast where we talk all about – you guessed it – work! I’m also an Associate Professor of Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management at the University of Toronto, and one of my passions is sharing my knowledge and expertise on navigating the workplace.  

From battling imposter syndrome and finding work/life balance to pursuing a promotion, changing career paths, and everything in between, For the Love of Work is your go-to career compass!  

We’re already into Season 2 of For the Love of Work, and as I’ve been chatting with all of our incredible guest experts, I’m amazed by how much great content we record that can’t be squeezed into an episode. The time has come to set that content free! From now on, we’re going to share some of that bonus content with you after each episode in our new article series, “Beyond the Work”.

In our second episode, we focused on reinvention.

We heard from Angela Duckworth, Professor of Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania and author of Grit, about how the pandemic has played a unique role in encouraging us to cultivate new interests and skills – some that we might even want to take more seriously and pursue professionally.

When we think of “having grit”, we think of trying harder, doing more, and doing better. But Angela reminds us of the opposite – having grit also means going easy on yourself and pursuing your interests, even if that means failing one or two – or a bunch! – of times.

In fact, her research shows that ‘gritty’ people don’t just do the same things over and over again for years and decades. Instead, they’re constantly evolving and acquiring new knowledge and skills, even if their general direction is the same. This is what she calls “the experimental mentality” and it’s key to reinvention.

“So, if you’re a really gritty basketball player,” she says, “you’re playing basketball year after year, but every day, you’re coming to practice and saying, ‘What’s something a little different that I could try here with this foul shot? What’s something new that I haven’t thought of to improve my recovery time?’”

We also chatted with Dorie Clark, an executive education professor at Duke University and author of Reinventing You. In her book, she distinguishes between what she calls “capital ‘r’ Reinvention” and “lower case ‘r’ reinvention”.

Dorie Clark, executive education professor at Duke University and author of Reinventing You.

“Capital ‘R’ Reinvention,” she says, “is what we consider to be the big changes in our careers.” That could mean quitting your job, changing industries, or moving across the world. While these are important forms of reinvention, Dorie tells us that they’re not the only valuable ones.   

“Lowercase ‘r’ reinvention is actually something that I think all of us should be doing all the time – which is the process of making reinvention a habit,” she shares.

It all goes back to that experimental mindset and evolving in small ways.

Maybe for you that means shadowing someone in your field of interest for a day, taking a new LinkedIn course, or even asking a few deeper questions to your coworkers in a different department.

Delia Pan, Vice President of Wireless Lifecycle at Rogers Communications

Delia Pan, Vice President of Wireless Lifecycle at Rogers Communications, is no stranger to reinvention.  Born and raised in China, Delia immigrated to Canada to pursue an MBA at Western University’s Ivey Business School, where she took on an internship at Rogers.

“I didn’t join Rogers with the intention to become a VP of Wireless,” she says. “I was a woman, I did not have a lot of Canadian experience, and I did not have any sponsors that could give me the career support and direction that I needed. Because of this, I put myself in a box, and I had these negative self-destructing beliefs that I wouldn’t be able to advance much further.”

It wasn’t until she began developing relationships with mentors and peers who her to grow and thrive that she realized she could advance right where she was. “I worked hard just like everyone else, was capable, intelligent, and worthy of advancing in my career without having to assimilate or change who I was.”

So, there we have it! If you’re looking to make a change in your career, remember that it’s not always the big moves that matter most. Stay curious, embrace the experimental mentality, and I promise, you’ll be one step closer to making your reinvention possible.

See you next time!

Dr. Sonia Kang

To learn more about For the Love of Work, click here.