A lifetime career or a lifetime of careers; how to make sense of your options.

October 16th, 2012

Whilst there is no agreement on the statistics of how many careers we are likely to have in our working lives (ranging from as high as 10 to as low as 3), there is little doubt that the world of work is changing fast.

Our working lives are increasing as are the ways in which we can choose to work. For many this means that we have far more choices than a more traditional career  working for one or two employers for the vast majority of our working lives, working up the career ladder before retiring on a decent pension. Whilst an increase in choice is no bad thing, it can be difficult to decide what to do and when to do it, particularly given the risks of making a move in today’s uncertain world. This might mean that many stay in roles longer than is right both for themselves and their employers.

Julie Meyer  (who is credited with igniting the UK’s dotcom boom) prophesies that by 2020 people will create their own jobs bringing about a fundamental change in employee – employer relations and an increase in entrepreneurial activity which will benefit the UK economy. This is what she refers to as individual capitalism. If this is right then many more people will have far greater control and choices over their careers and lifestyles.

My own journey from “corporate land” to true self-employment has helped me understand the issues faced if (or maybe when)  individuals reach a turning point in their careers or lives and start to contemplate the remainder of their working lives.  Signs that we might not immediately recognise could be a loss of engagement and a reduction in the energy and enthusiasm we had in our early careers; that real sinking feeling when Monday morning comes around. I am not suggesting that all journeys will be the same or that “going it alone” will be right for everyone but the following will help you decide what is right for you and yours.

  • Remember that you do always have a choice. It might not feel like it in the current climate but there are always choices about what you are doing and how you are doing it.  You might conclude that you will stay where you are; if so this is still a choice made for the right reasons and in accordance with your current priorities which in itself is very positive.
  • Only worry about the things that you can change. Take control of your future, if the time is not right to change yet, think about what steps you might need to take to plan for a longer term plan or objective.
  • Be true to your values. Think about what is really important to you, important in your life not just in career terms.
  • What skills do you have and want to use? Think about your whole life experience and career history, what has really enthused you and what are the highlights and low lights.
  • Think laterally and be creative. There is no such thing as a bad idea, explore all and consider all options before doing any kind of reality testing.
  • Think beyond your work life. Think also about what you can do outside of work to enhance experience, skills or networks. Not only will this help with future options it might also help regain some of that waning enthusiasm, energy and engagement.
  • Plan and commit. Whatever you decide, the final step is to put in place a plan and commit to action.

I know from personal experience how valuable it is to be able to explore these issues with a critical friend, someone who will ask those searching questions to help you open up all the possibilities and support you on your journey. If you feel at a career cross-roads, stuck in a rut or losing the will to turn up in both body and soul on a Monday (or Tuesday/Wednesday etc) morning and that coaching may help then please do contact me on 07808 829545 to discuss or visit my website for further information www.alisonlove.co.uk .

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One Response

  1. Well said Alison! I agree with your advice and believe that a career without enthusiasm, energy and engagement is not a career at all. Life is too short to stagnate!

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