This is a guest post by Catherine Johns. She teaches entrepreneurs and service professionals how to communicate confidence and charisma. You can find and follow her on her Catherine Johns website or at @catherinejjohns on Twitter.
Career Plan B? I’m on Career Plan D already … and what I notice is … fragments of A, B, and C all play a role in this current version of Catherine Johns.
What does that mean for you? It’s useful to think about the overlap between what you do now, what you’ll do next, and what you might be doing another decade down the road. Where do those careers intersect? And how can you make the most of that confluence of talents, skills, and contacts?
A friend of mine retired recently – he’d taught for 30-odd years, most of it in the same school.
Bless his heart, it worked for him. But that model is really a thing of the past. Put in your time and retire with a pension and a gold watch? Who does that in the 20-teens?
And I would argue that even the notion of sequential careers is becoming quaint. It’s just not that crisp anymore: leave a position, spend some time finding yourself, maybe go back to school, and then start all over in a new field? I did exactly that, and yes, it worked for me. But it was over a decade ago when I waltzed out of my last radio studio, got some training, and launched a new career in Corporate Learning and Development.
Time has not stood still since then. In fact, time has speeded up, or so it seems. The velocity of life has compressed our personal timelines. They’re not so segmented anymore; one thing blurs into the next and the next after that.
And all of it is much more public than it once was in the days before LinkedIn and its online counterparts. Now, everything is out there, moving quickly – and your job is to manage it. All the time.
So yes, you should be preparing for the next thing even if your current job seems satisfying and secure. Reality: every job is temporary.
What do you do now that could morph into something else entirely? What would that look like? Really spend some time on those questions.
It can be helpful to study the job market; it’s more helpful to study you. What are your gifts? What is that unique blend that you bring to the world? And if you weren’t employed as you are now … how else could the world tap into those gifts?
That might mean a new position in the same field. Or a fresh start in a completely different industry. Or it might be time to join the exodus of creative professionals leaving cubicles all over the country and starting their own businesses on their own terms.
Scary? You bet. But it’s not as if we have a choice anymore. So we might as well embrace change and set ourselves up to flourish.
Focus on you. Your abilities, your education, your connections. Those are the things that stay with you from one career to the next. Make ongoing professional development a priority, whether you feel the bull’s-eye on your back or not. Use the resources here on Diahann Boock's site, or visit mine. Be ready and be resilient as the pace of change gets even faster.
Question: What is your back up plan?