It may be that there’s nothing more disruptive than experiencing a career change. Frankly, it really doesn’t matter how big the change is – could be as major as a complete exit from a long term workplace, or it could involve subtle shifts of role assignments or responsibilities. Whatever the magnitude, career changes can leave us feeling thrilled, nervous, sad, angry, hurt, depleted, disoriented, confused, or even all of the above.
Many indicators point towards the idea that there will only be more and more of this kind of change. Therefore, career resilience is one of the essentials you will need to find and keep good work throughout your work life.
Yes – without resilience, even if you follow the tried-and-true process endorsed by a plethora of career coaches and counselors, the longevity of your sense of workplace satisfaction may suffer.
As someone who’s passionate about helping people create and bring their career visions to life, I sometimes notice that I’m apparently more enthusiastic than my clients are about their work prospects. How can this be? It seems that when they’re faced with even the tiniest barrier, they give up. And this occurs far too often and way too quickly in my opinion. Somewhere along the way, perhaps due to the very reason they contacted me, their resilience diminished.
Why is resilience so important? Well, for starters, we can all count on life routinely handing us things that get in our way of the real work we yearn to engage in.
Yet, someone who has highly developed resilience would set a limit or avoid altogether any brooding time. And, the prospect of giving up doesn’t make its way into their awareness. Without the option of giving up, what are people with resilience going to do? They’re going to face the obstacle, and trust the possibility that this is when creativity, quality, courage, initiative, and resourcefulness will likely emerge in their work. Anyone who has had this sort of experience understands the joy that will inevitably follow such an experience.
There are limitless practical tips and actions that can be taken immediately to help you develop career resilience. Here are some suggested strategies to get started.
Sustain a Practical Outlook: Resilient people are pragmatic; they know that they can control their situation and the choices they make in response to evolving situations. When a career change occurs, one thing you can do is clarify your core needs for your work, such as the core values, preferences, and talents that help you feel energized, enlivened, and fulfilled at work. Once you understand your core needs, they will become a resource for you in the midst of change. They’ll help you actively explore the change and its implications for your work. For example, you can ask yourself:
– In what ways does this change help me meet my core needs?
– How might the change hinder my ability to meet my core needs?
– What are some things I can do, now that this change has occurred, to ensure I continue meeting my core needs in my work?
Tap into your Resources: People who have high levels of resilience develop and draw from a wide range of resources. What got you through previous changes? What happened? How did you deal with it? What was the outcome? How can you take what you learned from that experience to help you now in the midst of career change?
Explore Possibilities: People with resilience prepare, in one way or another, for a number of eventualities that may come their way. Explore the future of your career direction and the specific ways in which your core needs, values, interests, and motivations can be brought back into your career focus through one of the following strategies:
– Enrich: Work within your existing job and workplace to find ways to bring your core needs back into your work.
– Relocate: Keep the job type, but decide to change your workplace.
– Move around: Keep the workplace, but decide to change your job or area of responsibility.
– Revamp: change it all – your job and your workplace.
Be Intentional: Keep your eye on your intended objective. Short term changes should not derail you from the “big picture” of where you’re going in your work life.
Having high levels of resilience offers you a different way of looking at difficulties that present themselves along your career path. The person who has resilience understands that no matter how prepared he or she is, no matter how much knowledge attained or skills developed, their most ideally suited work will bring all manner of set backs from time to time. These people inherently know that such challenges will foster their own innovation, so they greet the challenge with enthusiasm. This carries people who have resilience through tumultuous times, often resulting in their developing heightened resilience to future set backs.
By shifting your attention from what has happened to you in your work life to what you are going to do as a result of the change, you can actively participate and manage your own transition process in a way that honors your core needs and ultimately paves the way for you to experience long term career fulfillment.