The tipping point of your career

You may have heard of the book The Tipping Point, written by Malcolm Gladwell. It has been recommended as one of the 10 most important business books of the 1990s, and the author is a Canadian to boot. His premise for the book is this; at some point, certain businesses or trends take off. Think Google, Amazon, ebay, blogging, iPods, and, most recently, YouTube. These ideas and brands were small and unknown until you told two friends, and I told two friends, and so on. Before we knew it, these ideas and tools became things that we wondered how we ever lived without. The growth of these companies has been great for us, and has created a number of billionaires and millionaires in the process.

The "tipping point" is a series of events, people, money and circumstances which come together and meet the market at the right time. When this occurs, things shift and businesses take off. I have observed this phenomenon with our clients as well. I had a new client in this week — she recently asked for a more flexible work schedule. She is in a leadership position within her organization. Her boss suggested to her that this wouldn’t be fair to others. This was her Career Tipping Point. It was the event that convinced her it was time to move on to a new role.

Like business, a career tipping point doesn’t happen overnight. In my experience as a coach, it is typically a 1 to 2 year process that can be both positive and negative. In many cases, you need to be more patiently persistent. All of a sudden, it seems, things come together for the positive or the negative.

In my client’s case, her boss’s action, combined with the context of the past, helped to create a clear picture to her. While the decision was negative, it was time for her to take action. For you, the tipping point could be a new project, or a call from a Head Hunter, or a new boss. In all of these cases, remember you have choices.

It is time for our September Draw – we are giving away a copy of Malcom Gladwell’s book for one lucky reader who will share with us their thoughts from this week’s Ten Minute WORKout. Email me at if you want to share your story.

This week’s Ten Minute WORKout:

What was the last Career Tipping Point that occurred for you? How did you deal with it? What was the most positive outcome of this situation?

Along the road with you,

Alan Kearns