The 3 Career Decisions That Changed My Life (Part 3/3)

6/28/2019, By Adrian Choo

This is the third and final installment of my 3 part series.

It reflects upon the 3 moments in my life that critical Career Decisions have altered my destiny and made me what I am today, the World's first Career-Strategy Coach.

In the first article, I wrote about how I was diverted into the world of business as a result of a frightful visit to the Medical School Anatomy Lab.

In the second article, I wrote about how I took a bold gamble at 30 and pivoted into the new and exciting world of Retained Headhunting.

Now, onto the final chapter!

The Year was 2012 and I was having one of my best performing streak of quarters in my Career. I was at the top of my game in the world of Retained Executive Search, making a lot of money and I was enjoying every minute of it...

Until I took a long and hard look at my industry and the wise words of Jack Ma came flooding into my mind, like as though Old Jack himself was whispering in my ear.

Jack Ma - Best time to fix your roof.jpg

In a panic, I forced myself to highlight the 3 things that could or have already begun to disrupt my Industry, and I identified 3 ominous signs.

1.     LinkedIn was going to take away a significant portion of the Recruitment Industry,

2.     Our fees and rates have been steadily declining since the Great Financial Crisis of 2008, as competition for a shrinking market heated up, and

3.     A trend of 'in-sourcing of Talent Acquisition' was gaining momentum with major clients. They were building 'in-house recruitment teams' that they could use to bypass external Headhunters.

These 3 factors, though minor back in 2012, would only escalate in the next 8 years and if I had remained in the same space, I would be an obsolete dinosaur in a world of upright apes. Headhunting was undoubtedly on the decline.

I then forced myself to review my own Career Strategy to explore what my next steps should be. Once again, I prioritised my Career Goals as follows:

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1.     Career Longevity
means being in an industry that was growing and having the skills that would see continued demand for my service.

2.     Career Scalability means that in the long run, I would not be 'selling hours of my own time' (which had its limits), but rather, a solution that could be replicated and scaled upwards.

3.     Career Enjoyment means that I will be doing what I love doing most - in my case, meeting people and helping them solve their complex problems.

I scanned my industry and decided that I was best suited for Career Coaching, having conducted elements of it during my headhunting career. So, that was it. 

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To reposition myself and build my credibility, I authored and published my first book, "Career Crossroads - A Headhunter's Guide to Career Strategy" in 2015.

This book was the amalgamation of all the Career Advice that my C-suite clients and candidates taught me over my decade-long experience interviewing them. It took me close to 2 years to write and publish it but the effects were phenomenal in establishing myself as The Career Strategist.

The popularity of the book got me noticed in the Career Coaching Market and I landed a role at a leading Outplacement Firm (in those days) where I joined as their Business Development Director.

From the first day I started work there, I had given myself a 3 year timeline to expose myself to as much of the industry as possible and then leave to start my own Coaching Agency, and in Jan 2018, I walked out the door, head held high, and started the world's first Career Agility Coaching Service.

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Many people laughed at me when I told them what I had set out to achieve. One Headhunting Firm who tried to recruit me said "You'll come crawling back to us when your stupid idea fails."

Today, I am blessed to have a wonderful team, fantastic client base, and excellent profitability and growth trajectory.

And most importantly, I've achieved all three of my Career Goals (Longevity, Scalability and Enjoyment) and have found like-minded people to share it with.

"So, if you are at a Career Crossroad and are unsure of what exactly you want, pause and start thinking of your Career strategically and gain that Clarity needed to achieve your Career goals."