PREPARING FOR THE (INEVITABLE) CAREER CHANGE
Over the past decade, we have seen the end of work as we know it. Secure well paid careers are scarce and we have transitioned into a labour economy made up of instability of part-time and contact work.
Fueled by a convergence of factors, from globalization to new technology, "the only constant is change" has never been more true.
The gurus teach us that on average we will change our careers at least three times over our lives.
Some of my adult clients age 30-50 after many years of service to their companies find themselves severed without due cause. Times have changed they are told and they no longer fit the current mold of acceptance.
Sometimes they were called into the Human Resources to be told in person that they should collect their personal affects and then be ushered out of the office by security.
When I provided my services to a well-known international company, a sales representative with fifteen years of service was severed on her Blackberry when she was on a trade show in the United States. It is sure hard to keep your self-confidence and not be depressed after you have been blind-sided.
I still remember Adam, who was President of a Canadian subsidiary, whose task was to down-size the work force. It was not long before he too was bid adieu. He went to four month contract positions in British Columbia where he worked six days a week, twelve hour days with every second week-end off to fly home for a couple of days. No health care/pension benefits to count on for his part time employment.
Adam subsequently purchased a "Wine Knot" franchise where he learned to create cases of wine while enjoying himself and earning a very nice living.
Here are some suggestions that I have for managing your career change that I have learned over the years.
Resistance to change will only make you miserable. It is strange that people are not more adept at accepting change as normal. We yearn for permanency and stability in an impermanent world, yet we have no choice but to embark on a difficult path of not only embracing change but of expecting and loving it.
Where can we find certainty when the ground we stand on is constantly shifting? Often times a career change teaches us a lesson about the futility of relying on outside circumstances, people or the economy to deliver iron-clad certainty for us. We must try and find that place of certainty somewhere within ourselves and learn to turn what happens to us into something positive. This is difficult, since we are predominately fear-driven creatures, but developing inner reliance and grit is a must for the new world. Fear of change tends to only hold you back - banishing it and replacing it with certainty will open new doors.
It is incredible how much we hang onto the past-our past former successes and mourn the loss of something we once had. Yet, until we really let go, nothing new can appear because there simply is not room in our hearts and heads. Change calls for the shedding of old identities and assumptions of what was.
During times of change and uncertainty it is important to explore many different paths. It’s the time to be inventive and open up your mind to unorthodox ideas, becoming an active participant in your own future in what comes next. You must be willing to risk searching/taking a new path of discovery.
Continuous learning is the best insurance against loss of work and income. No one is responsible for increasing your skills and knowledge other then you-this is your guarantee that you will continue to be marketable. Learning how to learn is the most competitive skill for to-day’s world. Knowledge sure beats ignorance to be able to find success.
Recently I counseled a dentist who had been in private practice for ten years and was ready to make a career change. I learned of the daily stress she found herself administrating to patients every thirty minutes a day five days a week. It seems that many people did not show up for their appointments dreading the thoughts of dental surgery.
In high school, being female, she was advised to follow the health science route in her career pursuits. No one ever spoke to her of a career in engineering as a viable option. The Strong Interest Inventory testing showed a very high affinity to careers in Engineering. She sold her share of the practice and went to Fanshawe College to study design technology. She is a happy after finding her niche at the Bruce Nuclear Reactor site in Port Elgin.
Read all about it in the Globe and Mail, Report on Business March 28th edition on why David Patchell-Evans is a success. More then 900,000 Canadians are Good Life members: the company revenue is in excess of $500 million a year, Patch got into the business by accident. In 1974 during his second year at Western University, he had a motorcycle accident that broke his clavicle and ripped apart his upper body. His arduous eight-month of rehabilitation ignited his lifelong passion for fitness and a desire to share it with all Canadians.
While studding business at the Ivey School of Business he started to train as a rower while working out regularly at a gym in a small shopping plaza in London. The owner informed Patch that he planned to close his gym the next day and as the sages teach us the rest his history.
Patch took the proverbial sour lemon from his accident and made it into lemonade while serving the needs of his customers.
We all have talents that we can implement if we but try. Finding role models who have turned negatives into positives can help us guide us on our way. No, you do not need a degree to be succeed: the world’s richest people such as Gates, Dell, Jobs never ever graduated from university. Find your passion and then you can discover your future.
If you have good ability along with a good work ethic and willpower you will be successful in your pursuit of your goals. I believe in the axiom that no is maybe and maybe is yes.
Imagine what you can do with your skills, passion and interests you have if you are not afraid to try.