Preparing for a Career Storm
We all know that chaos can hit at any time whether we’re prepared or not. Last year, Hurricane Sandy left her mark with an unprecedented show of fury. Storms make me think of how chaos can strike at any time. When it comes to our careers it can hit without warning but more times than not there is usually some inkling of an impending change.
A few examples of change:
- Your crazy boss resigns without warning and suddenly the old familiar chaos gives way to something new and maybe not better. New leadership may bring in their team and where does that leave you?
- You or your spouse has been asked to either relocate or lose your job.
- Your company may be sold and an entirely new management team is being brought in to evaluate you, clean house and reorganize.
- Technology is changing and the job that you’ve mastered is either being eliminated or outsourced.
There is a new book by Howard Stevenson, a Harvard professor, where he discusses these changes as “inflection points”. An inflection point “is a moment in time when structures are removed and rules are suspended.” Stevenson feels that these types of situations are a time to reflect inwardly, decide what you want and act on it. He’s right. Honestly, as difficult as it may be, we need to fully understand that change will come our way and we need to prepare in order to be able to embrace an inflection point. It’s time to humbly and honestly assess our strengths and weaknesses. So what do you do, where do you begin? Especially if you’ve been on auto pilot with your career/job.
Preparing for the Storm | Mental Preparation:
- Do I Like What I Do?| The first question you need to ask is “Do I like what I do?” This is regardless of whether you’re working or not. Do you like how you spend your day? Most times we get so tied up in our day-to-day chaos that we rarely take the time to take a breath and lift our heads up out of the foxhole
- If yes, are you aware of what is happening in your town, company, the country with your career? Make sure you’re in the loop with LinkedIn or Meetups in your area. See what directions others are going in and then see if it’s a fit, if not, forge your own path. If you’re young, speak with those that are more experienced. If you’re experienced be sure to talk to the new generation to keep you fresh and up-to-date.
- If no, it’s time to start figuring out what you want, now! What do you want your day to look like? Get a small notebook and write it down. Visualize for a few minutes a day. This is just the beginning. Like it or not the life you have is the one you created why not create it thoughtfully and not just recreate the chaos you may have grown up with? Change always begins by first just thinking about what you do and don’t want in your life.
If you decide that you need to make a change, there are so many tools available now for all different income levels. You may need to look a bit but you will find someone who has overcome the situation you are in.
- Internet Radio | On “Corporate Talk with Charlie and Eva” Charlie and I discuss many different topics and have a number of different guests all relating to some aspect of career life. Replays are available if you miss the scheduled time. Internet radio is free. You can check the “podcast” section of my website or go to www.blogtalkradio.com/tough talkradionetwork or www.hayhouseradio.comlook at what the different hosts have to offer and listen.
- Books| There are many low priced ebooks that can be searched on Amazon or Barnes and Noble. Just search on the topic you’re interested in. Don’t over think it, just look for what appeals to you even if it’s only the cover art.
- Get a coach, counselor or therapist| Sure I can do sit ups and jumping jacks in my living room but without the camaraderie or instructor yelling at me to get moving, I simply won’t do it. That’s why I pay for Boot Camp. Over the years, I’ve had many therapists, counselors and coaches. Some have only lasted a few sessions but many have lasted for years because they help me stay on track without me having to bug my family and friends. It’s not that I’m clueless but I like to expand my thinking and see what others are doing. This has allowed me to have a very diverse and interesting life and it’s still changing. We all can use an educated, objective opinion! Network | If you think of networking as connecting with people, it’s not nearly as intimidating. Look at LinkedIn, Meetup, see what groups appeal to you and make a commitment to keep in the loop to see what’s new. Even a few hours a month is better than not doing anything.
- My website contains names and reviews of books you may find helpful, blog posts, and replays of “Corporate Talk”. Take a look at what is offered and see if it appeals to you.
- Ask around and get a referral, you’ll be surprised how many people you know have worked with a therapist or coach.
- Online Resources | LinkedIn and Facebook when used wisely have a ton of information and can be a good place to start. Although it can be overwhelming, the volume means that sites are vying for your business. This means a lot of free content. This can at least get you started.
Change is inevitable and even though we can’t predict when it will come we can be more proactive in preparing for it!