SLPs: Three Tips to Manage Career Transitions in Uncertain Times

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Towards year-end, it’s normal for speech-language pathologists (SLPs) to question the work they do, and how it fits into their lives. 

Speech pathology is a relatively new profession with a wide scope of practice. Long-term career paths are rarely linear or clear – especially in private practice. 

Most SLPs love helping clients. But worker shortages, increasing costs of living, the emotional toll of work, the expected NDIS shakeup, the rise of AI, and general uncertainty have caused many SLPs to think about career changes. 

Some SLPs find themselves stuck between a past that’s over and an uncertain future. Navigating change is hard, but, according to Herminia Ibarra, there are three strategies that can help:

  1. Diverge and delay: Build a portfolio of part-time and contract roles and learn as much as you can, while delaying any decision that would cut down your options.  
  2. Exploit and explore: Look for professional growth opportunities within your existing role while also exploring side-projects that could develop into a viable next step.  
  3. Bridge and bond: Create or reactivate relationships beyond your current circle to learn about new opportunities, e.g. in adjacent fields. Deepen ties with a circle of kindred spirits for more support, and to give you space to talk through unsettling emotions.

A meaningful career in speech pathology requires lifelong learning and constant reinvention. Use the year-end break to rest, reflect, and to restore your spirits for whatever comes next in your career.

Main source: Ibarra, H. (2023). Why Career Transition Is So Hard. Harvard Business Review, November December, 143-147. 

This article also appears in a recent issue of Banter Booster, our weekly round up of the best speech pathology ideas and practice tips for busy speech pathologists and speech pathology students.

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Man wearing glasses and a suit, standing in front of a bay

Hi there, I’m David Kinnane.

Principal Speech Pathologist, Banter Speech & Language

Our talented team of certified practising speech pathologists provide unhurried, personalised and evidence-based speech pathology care to children and adults in the Inner West of Sydney and beyond, both in our clinic and via telehealth.

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