Want to Feel More Fulfilled By Your Work? These 5 Steps Will Help You Find Your Wildly Authentic Career—and Pivot


As a five-time career pivoter, I have never held the same job title or worked in the same industry. I’ve held roles in finance, marketing, design, product—not to mention a failed attempt at stand-up comedy—that have equipped me with a diverse set of skills. However, this has been no cake walk of a career path. I’ve faced more than 200 rejections from companies because of not having enough “direct experience.”

However, what companies defined as “lack of experience” I actually saw as “strategic adaptability.” For me, career fulfillment has been about two things: the ability to rapidly grow new skills and the opportunity to work in a culture where I can be myself every day. While it hasn’t been easy, I’ve been fortunate to find companies that recognize the value of my eclectic skills and see humor as a leadership trait. Over the course of my career, I’ve mentored over 100 friends and family members on how to unlock more authenticity in their career.

These days, even more people want to do this. The Great Resignation has resulted in over four million people leaving their jobs since July of 2021. The reason? Americans are sick of low-paying, toxic work environments that leave them overworked and unfulfilled. Now more than ever, Americans are asking themselves, “How can I lead a more fulfilling career?” With remote work and an overall job surplus, the time to embrace an authentic career is now.

But how do you get started? Personally, I struggled to understand what my career path options were or how to translate my transferable skills. Which is why I want to share five steps to help you start leading a more fulfilling career.

5 Steps You Can Take to Lead a Wildly Authentic Career

1. Identify what is motivating your desire for change.

The desire to lead an authentic career isn’t a knee jerk reaction to one event. It’s a deeply rooted belief you want to evolve, but don’t know how. Even the most self-aware people struggle to find time to regularly reflect and act on how they feel.

You can start by reflecting on activities that are exciting inside and outside of work. The purpose here is to surface what we want to stop doing and start doing more of. What are you not doing that you want to be doing? It’s through this process that you’ll be able to pinpoint what is truly motivating your desire for change.

Remember, making a big career change doesn’t always happen after a series of linear steps. Taking the time to reflect and define your north star is critical to making it happen.

2. Define your “Major” and “Minor” rather than focusing on roles and titles.

Like many people, I turned to job boards and LinkedIn when I was pivoting, only to find they are designed to support more linear career paths (i.e. showing you roles similar to what you’re already in). This is why I suggest starting with what I call majors and minors, instead of roles and titles.

A major is defined by the skills and activities you will be spending 60 percent or more of your time on. What activities make you feel like you are in your flow state? Building spreadsheets? Building user flows?

A minor is defined by the skills and activities you will be spending anywhere from five to ten hours a week. What activities do you want to develop or learn more of? Get tactical and write them down. Then, search for roles that involve your major and minor.

3. Identify what you are holding fixed vs. variable.

Career growth comes in many shapes and sizes, which means you have to identify what aspects you want to change and what to hold constant (e.g. role, company size, company values, industry, etc.).

Essentially, the goal is to understand what you want to hold fixed in a possible career change—as well as what you really want to affect in this change. If you don’t know your criteria for a fulfilling career, you won’t know what good looks like. Once you establish the criteria it’s easier to create a system and process to better evaluate the opportunities in front of you.

4. Don’t go at it alone.

The hardest part of my career pivot journey was the feeling of being alone. At the time, I had no one in my life who understood my uphill battle of trying to shift paths. According to a recent LinkedIn Workplace study, learning is amplified 30x when people do it together. That’s why the power of community is critical to making a career shift. Surround yourself with an eclectic group of people, interests, skills, and career experience that can support you as you move through this journey. Establish a community that will spark your creativity and support you in your journey.

5. Set a goal and iterate towards it.

It’s important to recognize that making a career change is not a linear process. In fact, think of the process as going on a quest—one that requires leadership and comfort navigating ambiguity. You need structure and accountability to stay on track. That’s why it’s important to establish a clear goal for yourself and work backwards from there.

It’s also crucial to create deadlines and hold yourself to them. Design experiment loops and learn from them. Have discovery interviews. Practice your pitch on a recruiter. Do side projects to learn new skills. Learn what is landing and resonating with people and companies and iterate from there. Constantly ask yourself, “What needs to be true for me to make this happen?”

The beauty of these five steps is they are relevant to anyone looking to lead a more fulfilling career. Whether you are a few years into working or thinking about the final chapter of your career, these steps can help you gain clarity and direction. So, what are you waiting for? After all, there’s nothing more wildly authentic than being fulfilled.

For more information about Zeit’s group coaching programs visit here www.thezeit.co and if you are interested in setting up a free 15-minute 1:1 coaching call you can do so here https://www.thezeit.co/schedule-career-coaching-call


Ambika Nigam is the co-founder and CEO of Zeit, which supports today’s ever-evolving professionals discover new career paths and helps organizations reimagine how to retain and inspire employees who want to do new things. Ambika was most recently Head of Growth Products at Bloomberg Media. Prior to that, Ambika led the Business Design practice in IDEO New York where she developed new offerings and incubated ventures for clients on the future of work and media. Ambika’s work has been featured in Fast Company, Fortune, and CBS’s 60 Minutes. She graduated from The University of Michigan and has a Masters in Science in Communications from Columbia University. She lives in New York City with her husband and two daughters.

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