Career Change: Ready or Not! Here It Comes!
Aha Moment: You need to be prepared for a career change at all times.
I’m a big believer that everyone should prepare to NOT get stuck in a career.
In effect, you need to be prepared for a career change at all times.
Hopefully, you’re doing well in your current position. You’ve been there five years, maybe seven years, and you’re getting recognized and rewarded, and receiving bonuses.
You’re in safe position with a good boss.
But don’t get too comfortable!
In an instant, your boss could be promoted and you’d find yourself with a new one. Perhaps a boss who isn’t your advocate or supporter. All of a sudden, there’s someone different steering the ship and doing things differently.
The comfortable position you’ve got going is suddenly turned on its head. You’re confronted with a situation where you need new skills and you’ve got to up your game.
It’s best to avoid this situation if possible.
But that requires preparing for career change before you get into an uncomfortable situation.
Here’s how to lay the groundwork:
- Conduct continuous critiques. Year over year, ask yourself these questions: What are the new skills you need in your job? Where do you have skill gaps? What do you need in your toolbox to get promoted?
- Assess professional contacts. Your contacts will help you go far when facing a career change. Work on making professional contacts inside and outside your industry so you’ll have a list of people you can call on whenever you need to. This is a task you should always be working on building. It’s essentially you’re one phone call, your save-me card, that will help you get out of career-change jail. You need to know who to call in case of an emergency.
- See through your CEO’s eyes. A critical way to have a direct bearing on your company is to always understand how you are relevant to what’s important to your CEO, industry or group head. You may be doing great things, but if a trend arises and you don’t increase your skillset accordingly, you may find yourself highly insignificant. Take the digital age, for example. Will you become “stuck” in your career in a few years as things become more automated? What can you do NOW to stay on-trend? What is keeping your leadership up at night? What is happening in your industry? Use the answers to these questions to build your skill toolbox.
- Have your references on an auto-renewal contract When a sudden career change happens or is pending, it’s often a scramble to gather up your professional references who will vouch for your skills in a new role or company. A great tip while in your current job is to gather a list of people who can give you pre-approved consent to use them as a reference. This will save you time and also help you in your process to transition quickly.
Ready or not, a career change is inevitable. You’ll sail over these waves if you’re preparing yourself in advance – instead of reacting to the situation and getting behind the career eight ball.
Be proactive about career changes. Conduct continuous critiques, assess your professional contacts and see yourself through your CEO’s eyes. These steps will help you prepare your sails for the winds of change, and navigate whatever comes your way.