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How Millennial Women Can Successfully Make A Career Pivot

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Dec. 7 2022, Published 8:00 a.m. ET

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The career you choose has a pivotal impact on your overall life, and many don't discover what they want to do until later in life. As millennial women, it’s never too late to make a career pivot when you feel called to a new home within the work field. Pew Research found that “roughly one-in-five workers say they are very or somewhat likely to look for a new job in the next six months.” The power moves millennial women need to make a successful career pivot can be elusive if navigated alone.

We decided to reach out to Shanta “Shay” Franco-Clausen, who is a political and campaign strategy consultant, and Santa Clara Valley’s vice chair for the board of directors of District 5 to gain her insights into how millennial women can successfully make a career pivot.

Shay Franco-Clausen
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Franco-Clausen was an incarcerated homeless foster youth who went on to become the first in her family to graduate college. She attened Mills College and finished a summer at Harvard Kennedy School. She worked in 2020 as the statewide campaign manager for Proposition 17 and was featured in the 2022 Sundance Film Festival alongside Evan Rachel Wood, advocating for the expansion of the statute of limitations on felony domestic violence.

She has been an executive administrative assistant, investment sales associate, field representative, city council candidate, director of programs, and her current career as a political campaign strategist and consultant. From her wealth of career experience, she shares her insights into making a career pivot.

Her Agenda: What are three tips you think are most important when making a career pivot?

Shanta “Shay” Franco-Clausen: The three tips that are important for millennial women to make a successful career pivot include:

  • Making sure to research the career you feel fits your goals and passion, to make sure that your energy and time permit the job demands.

  • Being mindful to scrub your network to find others in this industry, to learn what a day-to-day looks like.

  • Review the numbers. When making a career pivot, be sure to research if the salary meets the needs of your livelihood.

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What should millennials be cautious of when working toward making a successful career pivot?

I think understanding that transition comes with learning curves and companies don't create a culture around your immediate needs. I think in most cases, being from a different generation, things are so much easier for millennials, but when you shift, you also have to learn, build community and meet the demands and show off your skills, before moving into the C Suite.

Her Agenda: What are the top five questions to ask yourself when beginning a career pivot?

I ask myself these questions: Could I do this job and enjoy it five days a week? Does the culture of the industry fit my values and impact the community I want to have? Do I have a steady opportunity to advance or have upward mobility? Will this new career feed my soul while keeping me financially stable?

Any other insights you would like to share for millennial women working to successfully make a career pivot?

I think this is hard. I was just at dinner, where my wife used to work and most of the servers had college degrees in something completely different. I asked them this: "When you were in school or high school, what did you see yourself doing as a career that made you happy?"

Trust me, we mostly land jobs out of necessity and don't know how to move towards a career or being so young and inexperienced to find out. So, I would say vision board it, research departments, organizations, and private firms to see what they do and how they do it and see if you like it. You can always connect with someone, have coffee, and intern to see if that makes you happy!

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By: Shari Walker

Shari Walker is a former foster-care child who now advocates for mental health and wellness through her advocacy work, socially conscious writing, empowerment coaching, and spoken word poetry. She is a graduate of the University of Southern California’s Social Work-Social Change and Innovation master’s program, who has advocated alongside the Alliance for Children’s Rights, The RightWay Foundation, the National Foster Youth Institute, and the California Youth Connection.

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