Switching In

How experienced professionals are switching into social enterprise

When you're starting your career, is it better to prioritize professional development or personal passion?

The answer to that question is going to be a little different for all of us, but I've pretty consistently argued the latter on this blog. As you may have picked up, I believe we are driven by a mission. When we make this mission present in our lives, we're more activated to learn and just happier overall.

When the skills question bubbles up, I tell myself that in my dedication to a mission I'll build skills relevant to advancing that mission. I don't generally buy the "build your skills now, than follow your dreams" mentality. It's what your parents tell you, hoping that you'll get over your idealism and take the conventional success staring you in the face.

I thought I knew where that compromise led - disconnection with what really inspires us.

But now I get to work with people everyday who prove me wrong. And that's a pretty humbling experience.

At Impact Business Leaders, I help experienced professionals switch into careers in social enterprise. Most of them were very successful in the corporate world. In that time, they gathered skills, professional training and some wealth.

But contrary to what I believed, they never lost their sense of passion. They developed themselves and now they want to use their skills to make a dent in the things they're passionate about.

On top of that, my work has taught me that there’s a serious need for mid-level talent in social enterprise. The space simply hasn't built widespread, effective models for internal talent development.

So while many young social enterprise professionals consider an MBA, there's a huge opportunity for experienced talent to step into the gap.

This month's series - Switching In - focuses on how these professionals are filling that gap. I’ve partnered with Impact Business Leaders - which is a fancy way of saying I asked to work evenings - to explore how the professionals they work with successfully switch into social enterprise.

With 64 successful social enterprise placements to date, there's a wealth of data on: 
- The mindset needed to pursue the switch
- The skills and experiences that are most sought after

I hope to explore all of these aspects, and at the end of the month I’ll share the most important takeaways in the Mission Driven Monthly Newsletter.

This series on successful career switchers is designed to empower those who haven't taken the plunge, yet. You know who you are, and you know it's only a matter of time. The conviction grows stronger in your mind everyday and I hope Switching In can spark some action.

But I can only do that with your help. I don't have all the right answers or even all the right questions. So I encourage you to share your thoughts and responses. Your inputwill inform and enhance the posts I write and the newsletter I share at the end of the month. I eagerly await your comments, tweets and emails!

Speaking of the Newsletter, be sure to sign up! And check back on this post. I'll be listing the entire Switching In series below.