Platt Perspective on Business and Technology

Accommodating and thriving in the midst of change in jobs and careers 4 – job and career timeframes

Posted in career development, job search, job search and career development by Timothy Platt on May 16, 2013

This is my fourth posting in a series on change and even disruptive change as it can reshape our work lives and our careers (see Guide to Effective Job Search and Career Development – 2, postings 306-308 for Parts 1-3.) And I have been writing this series as a direct successor to my immediately preceding series: Career Changes, Career Transitions (same directory, postings 285-305.) And as already noted I offer this series with a goal of addressing the challenges of job search and career planning and development in a period of profound change, of the degree and severity that we have been seeing, and that we can expect to continue seeing and certainly through any anticipatable future.

Even when we are thinking and planning long-term, we live in our immediate here and now. That holds for our work lives and our career paths as much as it does for anything else in our lives. But if we are going to find and pursue our own best possible career path and take the steps that would make it our reality we still have to think and plan long-term too. So career planning involves juggling two very different types of timeframe. And each has its own purposes and contexts where it offers value and each: long-term and short-term carries its own assumptions and limitations too. Either can lead us off-track if we pursue them in the wrong contexts.

My goal here in this posting is to explore timeframe issues and challenges, and I would begin with the immediate here, and now and short-term timeframe.

• When we are working at a job we need to think and act short-term in addressing our immediate here and now work responsibilities and the goals and priorities we face, and that we will be performance reviewed on.
• When we are actively looking for a new job, and whether or not we are already working, we take a fairly specifically short timeframe approach there too, when mapping out and carrying through upon job search campaigns (for a discussion of that see for example the series Finding Your Best Practices Plan B When Your Job Search isn’t Working, at my Guide to Effective Job Search and Career Development, as postings 56-72.) The goal in all of this is to keep moving forward and with a search momentum that can help us to succeed in securing that next-step job.

But at the same time, we need to think long-term when visualizing and planning for a career path.

• When we are out of work and looking with a compelling need to find that next job now, long term considerations can easily be set aside, no matter how important they are.
• And it can be easy to slip into a pattern of never really looking all that much beyond the short-term here and now – in which case our career path and our work life are simply what happens as we are busy doing something else, and actually a long succession of immediate here-and-now something elses.

The day to day pressures and realities that we face tend to favor our over-reliance on short-term planning more than long, but problems can arise if we try only planning and thinking long-term too. I have probably seen more of this in the context of startup planning than career planning, but either way the result is building with gaps and with prioritization failures.

• Short term planning can help us define our priorities as we have to address them.
• Long term planning shows us where all of that should be taking us.

Keeping track of what timeframe and what type of timeframe assumptions we are pursuing is key to making both our jobs and our careers work for us.

I am going to turn in my next series installment to consider the issues and challenges of long-term unemployment. 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.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: