June 2012 Reflections



This month I have decided to focus on career planning and development.  Many of my clients come to me seeking assistance with changing their career.   They may have become bored or disillusioned by their current work and feel stuck.  Sometimes clients find themselves in situations where there is a restructure and their role changes or is abolished, or they are made redundant and have to find alternative employment.  Often they experience great anxiety and uncertainty about how they can use their skills in a new environment with different expectations and demands.  Obviously it is a lot easier if you have made the decision yourself to move to a different role with your organisation or to leave for a new employer, however when faced with the necessity to move on it can open up opportunities for a fresh start as long as you get the right help in the process.

So, what are the steps in making a job or career change?  When clients come to see me I start by helping them to identify their transferable skills - those skills which can be applied across workplaces - not just specific to the current job role.  This is very important as it releases the client from thinking only of themselves in a particular setting.  When they are clear about these they can then market themselves to a potential employer and help them to see that their transferable skills are applicable and relevant to a different work environment.  This process stops the client from being "type cast".  With this list we are then able to identify some options. 

However, skills are only one part of the picture.    Another important question is to ask yourself if you have found your unique purpose in the work you do.  If you have not found this yet, then you need to start searching for it.  All of us have unique talents, characteristics and abilities which if applied to the right type of work, will lead to job satisfaction and more fulfilment in life.  This is true whether we are talking about trades, creative arts, business, or the professions. 

Our initial career choices are frequently made with limited knowledge about our personalities and our options and it is natural to find that we do not wish to continue in the same field for the whole of our working lives.  As we grow and mature, our attitudes and needs change over time and the job that suited us in our twenties or thirties may no longer be fulfilling or meet our new circumstances in life.  These days workers are much more mobile and it is not regarded negatively if you have moved around in your employment.  In fact employers tend to prefer employees who have demonstrated the ability to work in a variety of settings and have shown flexibility and the capacity to adapt to new challenges and demands.  These days the average person will have several careers during their lifetime, unlike the idea of the same job which lasted until retirement. 

When changing employers it is important to ensure that you are clear about your skills, interests and values.  If you have special needs, for example to work part time or close to home or cant do overtime or shift work, these will need to be kept in mind when you are contemplating your next step.   Take time to research the field you are considering and whether your skills and personality are a good fit for that type of work.  Check out the culture of the new workplace.  Talk to people who work there or do an internet search to find out as much as you can about the organisation.  Is this the type of company where you will feel valued?  Do people seem to enjoy working there?   Are there opportunities for advancement?  Is the company going through major change which could impact on its employees?

Some of my clients complain that they hate their job and want to move, but unless you give thought to what makes the job unsatisfying to you, you can risk finding that the new job is no better than the last one.  The best guide to finding a satisfying job is to be involved in using skills you love and are good at.  This may sound obvious, but you would be surprised at the number of people who can truthfully say that they have this combination in their current job.

Having an optimistic and positive attitude is vital when considering a job or career change.  If you believe in yourself and approach the task with a good level of self awareness of your strengths and weaknesses, you will be in a stronger position to make a good decision about what will be a good direction for you.  Self doubt and fear of change can impede our ability to find work we will love.  Don't allow a desire for a high salary or status to lead you in the wrong direction unless it involves work you know you will enjoy.  These days people are expected to work long hours and for many years before retirement, so it is important to take time to choose the right job for you.  Sometimes circumstances may require that you find a job quickly, but do not settle for this as a long term solution, unless it happens to be your dream job.   Have a short term and a long term plan regarding your career.  Keep focused on where you want to be at the end of 5 or 10 years.  Making a change can be anxiety provoking, but without the willingness to take action, we can remain stuck in an unsatisfying situation and never experience ourselves as we can be.

I have found that people who never think about moving from their job and keep on doing the same tasks year after year are the ones who find it most difficult to adapt to unexpected changes.  No matter how much you enjoy your job, always ensure that you are expanding your skills and preparing yourself for a time when you may have to move on to something else.  This can happen due to organisational restructure, illhealth, injury or a change in family circumstances, so don't be too complacent and be prepared for the unexpected so you can adapt to change if necessary.

 If you are thinking about a job or career change then you may be interested in going along to a special event to be held this month.  I will be volunteering my time providing free Resume and Career Checks at the Career Development Association of Australia's stand on Sunday, 17th June, so come along and say hello and bring your friends.  If I can be of assistance to you in relation to changing your job or career, please contact me on 0438 855328 for private individualized sessions. 



Re-Invent Your Career Expo


The Career Event for Adults


Sat. 16th & Sun. 17th June - 10 am - 4 pm.

Venue:  Melbourne Convention & Exhibition  Centre 


 Free Resume and Career Checks, Workshops on Career Topics, vast array of exhibitors providing information on careers, training courses and industry advice.