Are you a recent graduate looking for your first career position? Are you a parent with children looking for a career change? Maybe you are somewhere in between, but feeling stuck in your current position? Are you looking for a more sustainable, passion-filled career that will better align with your values?
And are you fearful?
I get it. I understand some things about career change, because I did it.
I am a Certified Public Accountant, a wife, a student-advocate, and a new faculty member at the Crowell School of Business. I was a Senior Associate at PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (PwC), auditing large SEC companies in the consumer industrial products industry.
In my last year at PwC, I sought to transition into academia, to share my real-world experience and passion as a Christian auditor and raise up the next generation of accountants for the Lord Jesus Christ. In this transition, I spent a lot of time in prayer, sought mentorship and trusted God to reinvent my career in a way that aligned more with my values. This is what I learned.
1. Seek God’s wisdom through prayer and pursue mentorship from others
Before taking any steps toward reinventing your career, it’s crucial to know that you do not have to go at this alone. There are people, including the God of the universe, who are here to help you. As Christians, we are encouraged to seek God’s wisdom with our decisions, anxieties and worries. Proverbs 2:6 states that “For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth comes knowledge and understanding (Prov. 2:6, NLT).” Not only does God provide wisdom, but he also promises us that when we ask for something, it will be given to us, and that the door will be opened to us if it is according to His will (Matt. 7:7, NLT). During my transition from public accounting into academia, I spent a lot of time in prayer asking for God to provide wisdom and direction. I knew that in His timing, He would open doors for opportunities in accordance with His plan. Although I did not know exactly what the transition process would look like, it became clear to me through prayer that God was calling me into academia.
Similarly, a great way to begin reinventing your career is to pursue mentorship that you trust. Whether that is a mentorship that is already established, or with someone in a role you want to pursue, mentors can provide additional wisdom and knowledge. Once I determined that God was calling me into academia, I immediately contacted several of my former professors to ask them about their transition, additional education and more. You would be surprised how willing and generous people are with their time!
2. Align your values with your calling
The part of my job at PwC that I valued most was the time spent coaching, mentoring and teaching, from strategies on auditing effectively to navigating stress during busier times. With this in mind, I began to take inventory of my own life in order to reinvent my career in a way that better aligned with my values. For example, I recognized how much I valued community, faith and purpose. While some of these values were fulfilled in my previous position, others were not, so I sought a new position where I could prioritize all of my values while leaning into God’s calling for my life. By transitioning into academia, specifically to Biola University, I can now coach, mentor and teach others in a community where I can share my faith with students and live out my calling.
So I would encourage you to spend time reflecting on the values that you prioritize, then determine ways — big and small — that you can practically live out your values at work, in your current position or through a new job. For example, if you value community or service, you might join an affinity group at work or lead a service project with colleagues. Conversely, a more far-reaching example might be searching for a new position with a company that supports a cause you cherish. By looking for practical ways to prioritize your values at work, you can reinvent your career while finding satisfaction and contentment.
3. Dream big and say “yes” to opportunities
You will never make progress toward reinventing your career unless you get creative and dream big. For me, I believed that transitioning into academia would require a doctorate, many years of teaching experience, and other qualifications that would take several years to complete. While I was willing to put in the work, I wasn’t going to let this stop me from seeking out immediate opportunities. I applied to doctoral programs and searched for adjunct teaching positions and found both. I was confident that God was leading me, but he surprised me when he opened the door to a faculty position in accounting at Biola. Although I was a qualified CPA, I didn’t feel qualified to teach — but despite my insecurities, I said yes to the opportunity God provided. Without dreaming big and saying yes, I would not have had the courage to quit my job at PwC and reinvent my career!
You can do this, too. Don’t be afraid to dream big and say “yes” to what God puts before you. The worst that can happen is that God closes the door because he has a better one in your future. God promises us that he has plans for our lives; he promises that his plans for us are good, and he will give us a hope and a future (Jer. 29:11, NLT). Declare God’s promises in your own life by dreaming big and saying “yes” to His opportunities.
4. Trust God’s calling
If you get anything out of this, trust God’s calling as it relates to your career. If he is calling you into new spaces and places, then he will provide for you every step of the way. In my new position, I often doubt my abilities and effectiveness or the impact I am having on students. However, these fears, worries and anxieties are nothing but lies from the enemy. God has made it clear that he has called me into this profession as an educator, and I must trust his ways are better than my own. As Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart; and lean not to your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct your paths (Prov. 3:5-6, NLT).” While it can be challenging to let go and give God complete control of your life, he will provide you with more opportunities and blessings as you lean into his truth.
5. Give God the glory!
As part of our human nature, we often attribute success to our own abilities, skills and talents. However, I would urge you not to fall into this trap. The blessings of a new season in your career are due to God’s goodness, faithfulness, and purpose for your life, and he deserves all the glory, honor and praise. Reflect on the blessings that God has given you so that when you go through trials or circumstances, you will remember God’s faithfulness. I am so grateful that God has brought me to the Biola community. It is so evident that the faculty, staff and students alike strive to live out the mission to impact the world for Jesus Christ. At Biola, not only am I able to prioritize my values but I am able to lean into God’s calling and purpose in my life. All the glory, honor and praise be to God for he is so good!
Change is always difficult, but I am confident that by seeking God’s wisdom, prioritizing your values, dreaming big and saying “yes” to opportunities, trusting God’s calling, and giving God the glory, you can reinvent your career in a way that brings satisfaction, contentment and joy!
The "Calling and Career Roadmap" is strategically designed to prepare undergraduate students at Crowell School of Business to become career-ready. Students explore vocational callings and participate in workshops, internships, seminars and receive guidance from experienced faculty members to reach their full potential.
Photo by Jim Wilson on Unsplash