Platt Perspective on Business and Technology

Accommodating and thriving in the midst of change in jobs and careers 1 – putting change in perspective

Posted in career development, job search, job search and career development by Timothy Platt on May 1, 2013

Change, and even disruptively novel and unpredictable change are the only real constants that we can rely upon as we plan for and live our careers and work lives. The days of the one employer career path are long-gone for all but the rare few and most of us can expect to pursue a series of quite distinct career paths as a whole though the course of our work lives.

• I touched on this and its implications in my recently completed series: Career Changes, Career Transitions (see my Guide to Effective Job Search and Career Development – 2, postings 285-305.)
• I have also addressed issues of change and with a focus on forces and factors that are driving it, in the supplemental postings lists at the end of my first Guide directory page and its part 2 continuation. In that regard, see my series: Discerning the 21st Century Workforce as listed on the first Guide page as supplemental postings 22-25. Though I could just as appropriately list my ongoing, if more loosely organized progression of open letters, as listed at the end of both directory pages.
• The important point here is that change per se, and both predictable and progressive, and disruptively unexpected, are defining facts that are shaping and that will continue to shape work lives and career paths and for essentially all of us and certainly through any foreseeable future.

I have written of Plan B job searches (see first Guide directory page, postings 56-72). And I have written about Plan B career planning (see my just completed career planning series as noted above.) Both connect strongly to the topics and issues that I raise here. But in a fundamental sense they should only be seen as a starting point for this discussion, as in effect we have to begin thinking of any and every job search and career planning in Plan B terms – and in Plan C and D terms, and in terms of further elaborations from them.

• Certainly when jobs markets are uncertain and are slanted in favor of hiring businesses rather than job candidates and prospective employees, anyone looking for work has to think in Plan B and further elaboration terms.
• And anyone currently working and even in a seemingly secure job should be thinking and planning and preparing for change and for a next career step.
• And we all need to allow for and prepare for the possibility that our current career paths and work trajectories might end and that we might have to head off in an entirely new work and career direction. That has happened to me twice, and it has happened to many others and will continue to do so, and even when we are successful and productive at what we have been doing.
• Change happens and will continue to happen, and as a basic fact of life and of work life. And that is the basic topic and message of this new series, starting with this first installment.

My goal for this first series installment is to at least begin putting change, and more particularly its disruption, in perspective and with an intended goal of helping others who face it to move on more quickly and effectively. And I begin by facing the central challenge in all of this.

• When we lose a job and for whatever reason, we all but reflexively start out wondering what we did to bring that about – and even if we are downsized for reasons that we intellectually know have nothing to do with us or our work performance, or the value that our work has contributed to the business that we have been working for.
• We start out wondering what we did to cause this – and for a very simple reason. Our day-to-day work and our jobs as a whole and our progression of work and jobs that form our careers are all measured and evaluated in terms of our ongoing work performance, and we all tend to define ourselves in significant part in terms of what we do professionally and how well we do it. That is essentially unavoidable as we spend so much of our time and energy at work.
• And even if we accept that our getting caught up in a downsizing or lay-off did not happen because of our work performance or because of any work performance failings on our part – we can and do wonder what we could have and should have done differently that would have prevented this loss.
• And when we lose a job and even for reasons that are completely outside of our control and unrelated to our own professional performance or value, we face a real and substantial loss – and not just of immediate income. And we can find ourselves going through a very real mourning process as a part of our self-identity and of our sense of self-worth fall away.
• Developing a Plan B and I add C and D flexibility and resilience is not about denying this or suppressing it. Denial and suppression per se, and certainly as a primary response will not make any of this to just go away. Any effort to simply deny or suppress our sense of real loss will only make all of these unresolved issues fester.
• Plan B and C and D flexibility and resilience is about acknowledging and accepting this loss and the need for addressing it as a process, and it is about moving on, through and past it. So that is what this series is about, and with an emphasis on taking active and even proactive steps in moving forward.

I am going to continue this discussion in a next series installment, and in anticipation of that note that one of the most powerful tools that we have at our disposal for moving forward past loss, is to have something positive to move towards. A positive goal and having a step forward in sight that we can take that would at least incrementally help move us toward it, can be our most powerful tool in seeing and moving beyond a loss of a job or even of an entire career path and into a new one. But putting that in perspective and making it work for us, we still have to acknowledge and deal with our loss of what was and of what we had hoped to be, in finding that new path and that new next step forward. So I will also discuss that side of this complex of issues too.

Meanwhile, you can find this and related postings and series at my Guide to Effective Job Search and Career Development – 2 and at my first Guide directory page on Job Search and Career Development.

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