How To Remain In The Driver’s Seat of Your Career

Even before the coronavirus crisis, there were clear signs of workers around the world feeling anxious about navigating the future of work and staying relevant in a changing economy. A pre-COVID-19 global poll indicated 61% of respondents believed their current jobs would be impacted by technological changes and globalization.

Many organizations are looking to understand what emerging job opportunities look like. A recent World Economic Forum report forecasts that every emerging job will require basic tech skills. And some of the fastest-growing job clusters related to cloud, engineering, and data will require more disruptive tech skills such as AI and robotics.

But it’s not all about hard tech skills. Equally as important are human-centric and soft skills. Research on leadership in rapidly changing times reveals the need for a much broader and richer set of core portable skills and attitudes that go beyond tech skills alone.

With many initiatives at both governmental and business levels to help future-proof workers from technological change, it’s tempting to think you can ride out the storm by following pre-programmed processes. But forecasting is not accurate science. The reality is that career decisions will happen more spontaneously, and through happenstance, amidst uncertainty and rapid change.

What this means for career management is that individuals need to be in a state of constant readiness, and flexible and spontaneous in their career decisions.

Adopting a state of mind, where you drive your own career based on personal values, and where success is based on how satisfied you feel with life and work, not necessarily how much money or power or fame you obtain allows you to define career success on your own terms and often results in out-of-the-box thinking on terms of opportunities.

Research reveals two specific competencies required to adopt this state of mind - adaptability, and self-awareness.

Take my career as an example - I was happy and terrified when I decided to leave finance and the corporate world, where I’d been working for over 20 years. I decided to leave the world of finance and launch a new career in 2008 in Career Coaching – which allows me to make an impact in the lives of individuals, instead of just the bottom line. And it allows me to spend more time with family. My current job as an entrepreneurial Career Coach is incredibly rewarding, due to pure happiness and finding a sense of purpose.

How self-aware and adaptable are you?

In a rapidly changing digital world, having a secure personal base from which you can pursue your career is key. Ongoing reflection helps to better understand your own personal matrix of adaptability and self-awareness. Ask yourself the following questions to get started:

1. Have I undertaken varied projects and assignments over the last few years?

2. Do I have a network of relationships that both challenge and support my growth?

3. Have I been consciously seeking learning opportunities?

4. Have I been engaging in personal reflection?

While reflecting on these questions may not immediately future-proof you against technology changes, it may help you think through what you consider to be important. When circumstances rapidly change, you have your compass to guide you, ensuring that even your most spontaneous career decisions are rooted in your values and aligned with your goals.

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