Heather Shaw's travels opened a new world of opportunities
What does it take to recharge your career? A big part of it is re-evaluating where you fit in the job market. There are strategies that can be implemented, but for many professionals it also requires being less rigid and less timid in their perspectives around finding work. “Reinventing yourself is about going out there and getting new sets of skills that companies need, such as healthcare analytics,” says Marlon Cousin, managing partner of The Marquin Group, a boutique executive search firm in Atlanta. But reinvention also forces you to consider other questions: Do you need to start checking in regularly with your network? Do you need to get out of your comfort zone and take a risk?
“People are fearful and exhausted because they don’t know what the process of transition looks like today, and that’s why they aren’t getting results,” says Cousin.
Based on their training and backgrounds Derrick Godfrey and Heather Shaw would have never predicted that they would have ended up in their current positions. But during one of the worst economic periods in recent history, with millions of professionals unemployed, they didn’t just land jobs, they found exciting opportunities.
A Risky Move Works Out
A seven-day vacation to Dubai in October 2007 changed Heather Shaw’s life. At the time, Shaw was living and working in New York City as director of corporate responsibility for Time Warner Inc. Content with her job, she still yearned for change. “I felt as if there was something missing,” she says. “My entire life I had been comfortable.
I needed to step outside of my comfort zone.” Shaw initially had little interest in vacationing in the Middle East, but friends living in Dubai encouraged her to visit. When she arrived, Shaw was surprised “by how easy it was to meet people even though I didn’t know Arabic.” She returned to New York wanting to relocate, but her company’s overseas positions didn’t match her skill set. “I decided that this was something I was going to do myself.” After researching potential opportunities at a variety of companies and connecting with women on LinkedIn to gauge their experiences, Shaw returned to Dubai for three weeks in June 2008 to set up informational interviews. One company showed tentative interest: Limitless, a global real estate developer within the Dubai World group.
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