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The importance of friends and focus during career transitions

Networking, I must admit, can be exhausting. However, I derive a lot of value from it because attending networking events during the last year has really opened my eyes to the options available to me as I make the transition from scientist to writer. On top of that, I’ve met some really great people who do amazing work.

The problem I have now is that almost everything seems like an interesting and viable opportunity, and I am still unable to commit to a particular career niche in writing.

Remember that friends are in your network, too.

The other day I met with a friend I hadn’t seen in a while, and I told her my dilemma. What a breath of fresh air it was to share my story with her, and hear her own story about navigating through the career change landscape.

Even though I am no closer to deciding where I should focus my efforts, I came away feeling re-energized, and ready to keep plugging away.

Lesson (re-)learned: As an old saying goes, “Make new friends but keep the old. Some are silver, some are gold.”

Beware: lack of focus is exhausting.

One thing that became very apparent when I met with my friend was that having a focus when changing careers is beneficial.

She, too, is in the midst of moving onto a different career. But unlike me, she always had a sense of the direction she would like to go. As a result, she has been able to focus her networking efforts on progressing further into her new chosen career niche, whereas my attention has been divided between the different options I want to explore.

Should I just pick something and focus on moving forward faster? Perhaps. But I know I’ll eventually get to that point anyway, and right now I’m still happy to keep exploring.

If you’re like me and you’re still in the non-committal, keep-your-options-open phase of your career change, just be prepared that doing so can be exhausting.

In the meantime, thank goodness for friends to lean on!

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