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NextGen Magazine


Business Journalist Provides Career Reinvention Roadmap in New Book

S.J. Steinhardt
Published Date:
Apr 5, 2023


More than 50 million people voluntarily quit their jobs in 2022, a record number, and many may need help in figuring out what comes next. Longtime business journalist Joanne Lipman, a former editor-in-chief of USA Today, aims to provide that help with her new book, Next! The Power of Reinvention in Life and Work.

In an interview with Fast Company, Lipman laid out the top six things people should do before quitting a job without knowing what comes next 

First, successful transformation can start before one leaves his or her current position, she said. “Everyone I talked to who successfully transformed started edging in that direction well before they made a move,” she said, referring to side hustles, night classes, or charity work. “And typically, they started moving in this new direction before they realized they were moving.”

She provided the example of Lauren Strayhorn, a corporate marketing executive at General Motors who launched a newsletter, Notdd, while still working full-time and pursuing graduate studies at Georgetown University. She left GM in 2021 to devote herself to her new venture.

Second, she said to try on possible selves. Before jumping into something new, take a course, shadow someone in a similar role, or do research, she advised. Examples in her book include author James Patterson, who wrote novels in his free time while CEO of the advertising agency J. Walter Thompson, and TV chef Ina Garten, who hosted dinner parties in Washington while working as a nuclear budget analyst.

Third, she advised talking to an “expert companion." A friend, spouse, coach, mentor or even slight acquaintance can provide a different perspective. Sometimes, something that comes easily to a person can get discounted. Danny Meyer’s uncle dissuaded him from law school because his nephew was food-obsessed. Meyer now heads the successful Union Square Hospitality Group and the Shake Shack chain.  

Fourth, Lipman said to avoid feeding oneself damaging myths. She advises her readers not to “psyche yourself out if you’re comparing yourself to the stories you’ve heard since childhood” when considering a transformation. “It’s a slog and these transformations do not come instantly,” she said. In her book, she outlines a reinvention roadmap with four steps: search, struggle, stop, and solution. “We feel like we’re standing still, but actually we’re moving forward the entire time,” she said.

Fifth, she advocated taking a break. “When you turn off the executive function of your brain, then the disparate thoughts floating around your brain can coalesce and it leads to a spark neuroscientists can actually see on brain scans,” she said. The book tells the story of how Albert Einstein, struggling for more than a year on his theory of special relativity without success, then one day found the solution on his commute home.

Finally, she advises reaching out to people one doesn't know well. Such people may be able to see potential without knowing the details of a person's life. A recent LinkedIn analysis found that a person’s larger network is far more likely to help than those in one’s inner circle.