The Future of Work – Evolving You and Your Career in Uncertain Times

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Evolving You and Your Career in Uncertain Time

With the future yet to be written, we are finding ourselves in a moment of reflection. Re-defining the future of work is happening as employers and workers push and pull with each other as they seek to meet their own various needs. The en masse resignation is sending a signal (4.5 million in November according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics). Now, more than ever, people are re-prioritizing their relationship with work.

“The demand for skilled workers is growing, with 7 in 10 employers globally saying they are struggling to find workers with the right mix of technical skills and human capabilities”, states Deloitte’s research on Human Capital Trends. The skills in demand will be the ability to:

  • Operate in a digital/high technology environment.
  • Add value beyond what can be done by automation and AI.
  • Work effectively with diverse and global teams.
  • Act with a high degree of emotional intelligence.
  • Operate with a thrive mindset where you recognize that the disruption is continuous rather than episodic. You use this disruption as a catalyst to propel yourself forward
  • Evaluate, organize, and reach goals and the capacity to adapt behavior when confronted with novel problems and situations flexibly.
  • Develop resilience in the face of adversity and change.

Teaching our strategic career management course for the past several years, we often hear our students express concern over staying relevant and living their lives on purpose. With the ever-increasing demands of life and work, they ask how they can ensure their continuous development to be agile in their career and take advantage of opportunities that come their way. Every time we teach our class, at least one student shares a story of how they missed a new opportunity or promotion because they had not yet developed a needed skill or competency.

Examine Your Experience from several viewpoints; your beliefs about work, life, and the lessons learned from your successes and failures. How have significant events and people in your life shaped you as a person and your thinking about yourself, your capabilities, and where you fit into this crazy thing called life. As I completed this activity for the first time, I realized that I am an educator and coach. I always have been and can find examples of both all the way back to my elementary school days. However, it was not until I reflected on my life and those defining experiences and people that I realized this about myself. share the following with our students:

Develop clarity on a core set of career elements that are important to you. We have found that most people spend their time running away from a lousy job instead of running towards a great job. They do this because they cannot define what makes them happy, and they don’t have a decision-making framework to evaluate if the opportunity is indeed the right one for them. When you know what drives your career happiness and can use that information to evaluate options, you can more confidently identify and move towards your ideal career and adapt during changing times. When presented with an opportunity, you simply run it through your framework and see how well it fits with what you have defined as ideal. Just keep in mind that rarely does an opportunity fit perfectly.

Reskill your skills and competencies to remain agile in your career. This seems obvious given the above data from Deloitte, but most people make several mistakes:

  1. Instead of taking ownership of their development, they want their employer to be responsible for their growth and development. While it is ideal to work for employers that support your growth and development, you can’t just rely on them. You are the one in charge of your development plan.
  2. They fail to evaluate what to reskill in the context of where they are going in their career. Identifying the gaps in skills and experiences between where you are now and where you want to be is crucial.
  3. They neglect to seek feedback. What went well, what could have gone better and what do I need to do differently next time around. Or what do I need to do to get this next great opportunity when it comes around?

Network for future career success. Ok, we get it…you might hate networking. Many clients tell us they hate it because it feels yucky, and they don’t want to impose it on others. We reframe this for our clients to help them understand that networking is about connection, building relationships, and value creation. It is playing the long game. Some advantages for your career to begin networking now are:

  1. It is how you get jobs today! Networking alone is responsible for filling up to 85% of the open positions. In fact, according to Hubspot, between 70% and 80% of jobs are not even advertised. 
  2. It reduces the frustration of never hearing back from a company after applying. TopResume reports that 75% of resumes are rejected before reaching the hiring manager. If you spend your time browsing the internet to find jobs and getting frustrated because no one is contacting you for an interview, then look at your networking strategy. 
  3. It provides a channel to get valuable career insights into new developments within industries, career advice on navigating challenging situations, and notification of new opportunities before posting.

One of our students identified Oracle as an employer of choice during a recent class. Reaching out to her network and the network of her classmates, she eventually found herself connected to several hiring managers and recruiters from Oracle. Within six months of making these connections, she accepted a position at Oracle. She shared that had she not networked she would not have been in consideration, let alone hired.

Reflect regularly (daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and yearly) to evaluate your progress towards your career goals. In the age of sound bites, reflection is becoming a lost art, yet it is crucial to your growth and career evolution. Our clients have found it helpful to schedule 3-5 minutes each day where they use targeted prompts to facilitate their reflection. These prompts give them the focused time needed to process successes, mistakes, emotions, feedback, and any new information that could inform their future direction.

As Peter Drucker famously said: “The greatest danger in times of turbulence is not the turbulence itself, but to act with yesterday’s logic.” To succeed in the future, you will need to think differently about work, your strengths, and how you continue to achieve your goals and make the impact you seek.

What are you doing to adapt to the future of work?

Get your free copy of Should I Stay or Should I Go? 6-step decision-making template by signing up for our Evolu Newsletter. You will receive complimentary access to our Should I Stay or Should I Go? mini-course with more in-depth guidance on these six steps when the course launches later in 2022.

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