Think Career Translation versus Career Transition

“Wow, great cake, would love to know who the baker is,” I said to the well-coiffed 30 something woman seated next to me at my coaching client’s bridal shower.

“Thanks, actually I baked it. I’m a bridal and wedding cake baker.”

“Wow, it’s rare for a cake to both look and tastes great!” “Yup, I spent the first year of my pastry chef training, nailing both, I really appreciate that.”

“How long have you been in the biz?” “Five years. Before that, I was a nuclear scientist.”

“OMG! From nuclear scientist to a wedding cake baker, talk about a change!” 

She shrugged nonchalantly, “Not really, they both deal with chemistry, hours of research, and long stretches of alone time.

“Yes, but the difference is, if you mess up in the first scenario you can blow up an entire building, but in the second, all you have to do is deal with an irate Bridezilla.”

She countered, “Not sure which one is worst!” We laughed out loud.

When I looked back at the hundreds of clients I’ve had through the years, and especially those in career transition, when it came right down to it, the process we went through was far less of a career transition and far more of a career translation. Simply put they were literally translating their gifts, skills, and experience into perhaps another position, but they were still bringing the key components with them. We must never forget, we take ourselves wherever we go!

It’s a very important distinction because most of us freeze when we think of making big changes, especially in our careers. The road can feel daunting, uncertain, and anxiety-provoking. Change can be confronting, but if we start to take it down a few notches on the “having to reinvent the wheel” scale, and simply think, “How can I translate the skills, gifts, and experiences I have to another form (i.e. position, brand, industry, or profession) we start to breathe a bit more.

There’s so much more to say, but if you’re looking to make a career translation right now, here are a few things to think about:

What do I “do” in my current position? (i.e. hard skills)

Which of them do I enjoy, find rewarding? Dread and never want to do again?

What roles do I play in my current position? (i.e. soft skills, reassuring, mentoring, strategizing).

What are the things that I enjoy doing in life that feel natural, rewarding, or energizing?

What are a few subjects, ideas, professions that are really interesting to me?

What do I find myself researching, or inquiring about in my free time?

What do most of my friends and colleagues come to me for? Which of them do I enjoy? Which do I want to run the other way?

 Just start brainstorming on the paper. Start to notice themes, throughlines, and patterns. They’re there if you look for them. Stay curious!

 Whether it’s about going back for additional schooling, training, or being strategic about the relationships you want to forge, breathe, let your life experience, and life force energy guide you to your next career translation!

 Let me know how I can help! Going through a career “translation?” Could use some support? Wondering how coaching can help you? Feel free to email me at and book a 30-minute Discovery Call (complementary) to look at the next steps to get you there.