Platt Perspective on Business and Technology

Developing a career out of gigs and short-term work 8: learning to live and even thrive in the midst of uncertainty

Posted in career development, job search, job search and career development by Timothy Platt on August 23, 2014

This is my eighth installment to a series on job search and career development, when you at least start out from a position where your only options seem to be ad hoc and more an ongoing effort to simply find here-and-now work (see my Guide to Effective Job Search and Career Development – 3, postings 368 and following for Parts 1-7.)

I have been discussing a range of issues in this series, all connected to finding your way into more stable, reliable and career-enabling work. Then at the end of Part 7 I stated that I would circle back to its beginning and to its Part 1 in this installment, to reconsider the issues of “moving beyond gig work as a matter of learning to live and even thrive in the midst of uncertainty.”

I begin that by specifically citing a point that is so important and so central to this discussion that by now at least, and certainly in the context of this series, it should seem fairly trite:

• When you are trying to break out of the dead end of gig work-only job opportunities and into a path that can develop into more stable work and into career development, you need to be very thoughtful, through and systematic in everything that you do. Breaking out of gig-only and into a career path is a fundamental career shift and essentially all of the tools and approaches for switching from one career path to a fundamentally new one can be made to apply here too, and to your competitive advantage as you seek to more effectively stand out from the job seeker crowd.

When you make a fundamental career change – any fundamental career change, you have to learn new skills, and both for use in any sought-after new job and for moving forward in your search for that job. You are also going to have to brush off and refresh old skills that you have allowed to grow fallow from neglect and in this regard I specifically cite networking and renewing old networking connections that you have probably not been maintaining. And to tie these two points together, you probably have to learn as a new skill set, how to actively cultivate and maintain your business networking as an always-on and available, ongoing resource. Staying active in your networking can be the most important strength you can bring to your job search for helping you to stand out from the competing crowd – a crowd whose members virtually all have to start from scratch every time they find themselves looking for new work as they have let even their most valuable contacts fall away from lack of activity. (For more detailed approaches there, see the business networking references and links that I offered at the start of this series, in its Part 1.)

But this posting up to here has only been background for the core topic that I have set out to address here: change, and more specifically the rate and degree of ongoing change that makes a series like this necessary to include in any jobs and careers Guide if it is to even attempt to be significantly inclusive. We are still only just entering a period of historic change and disruption and in both the job market and in what it means to be employable, as I have been discussing through a succession of series in this Guide. This significantly impacts on anyone who seeks long-term job and career stability, requiring that we all cultivate and develop the tools, and the outlook and attitude that we need if we are to flexibly responsive to the unexpected. And the good news, and certainly for anyone who is facing or even just concerned about facing ongoing gig work, is that you are not alone. There are tools and resources that you can develop and use and for their numbers, no prospective employer can automatically turn away any and all suitable job candidates simply because they have faced adversity and a need for change on their part in surmounting it.

I am going to finish this series here, at least for now, though I am certain to continue writing about issues related to it as I continue posting to this Guide and to this blog as a whole. Meanwhile, you can find this and related postings at my Guide to Effective Job Search and Career Development – 3 and at the first directory page and second, continuation page to this Guide.

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