How to ease the pain of being a “triple jumper”

A triple jumper aims to change 3 career factors at once: industry, geography and function.

It can be daunting. For me the jump is from small animal vet in New Zealand to product management in a London tech start up.

I wanted to share a few tips and reflections from my experience so far:

Just do it

I challenged myself to jump in at the deep end. I applied for an unpaid tech internship on my first day at business school. I showed up to meet these cool and casual tech guys, completely overdressed and fuelled by naive enthusiasm. I cringe at the thought now, but it worked. They agreed to take me on.

Get your hands dirty

The work I did for this startup was not taxing or revolutionary. I learnt so much just by overhearing phone calls, asking the developers stupid questions and bumping into cool people in the communal kitchen. Textbooks don’t teach that.

Be humble and ask

I knew (and still know) so little about tech. But how do you learn about an industry? For me, I would ask interesting tech people for a coffee and ask honest questions about what they did, what the job title really meant, was it like what you see in the movies.

I didn’t ask really high-rung people, or those who might be future employers. I asked friends of friends, LinkedIn contacts and sometimes the person sitting beside me on a plane!

It’s amazing how much people will help you when you are genuinely interested in them. From my own experience, I love it when people ask me about working as a vet.

Acknowledge and face your imposter syndrome

This last one is pretty close to my heart. Imposter syndrome is the fear of being found out. That somehow you have been recruited by fluke rather than merit. It’s particularly common in high achieving women.

I certainly have the fear that one day someone will uncover the fact that I’m a big fat imposter. But I choose to follow the “fake it til you make it” philosophy that I first came across in Amy Cuddys TED talk. Seriously, watch it now!

By being aware, you can acknowledge your doubts and turn each small victory into an affirmation that your successes are down to more than just luck and charm.

Now go get ‘em Fido!

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