Change is all around us. Wherever we look there seems to be new orders emerging and replacing old ones. In some cases it’s bold, explicit and hard hitting and yet in others, more subtle and pervasive. Recent world political events such as Brexit and the US Presidential election together with the pace of technological change and the heralding threat that ‘robots will take our jobs’, serve to underline that change is front and centre in our lives and careers.
This is one of the reasons why career planning is more important than ever and fundamental to professional growth and development. That said, many leave it to chance and fail to plan altogether. The fact is, career planning just like any other form of planning has always been important to goal attainment. Some have done this very well and reaped the rewards and, yet paradoxically, many others have navigated very successful careers with what appears to be no planning at all; or so it seems.
Some have found career success by working hard and capably in their roles, waiting to be talent spotted for promotions. Others are politically savvy enough to ‘engineer’ career growth despite their capability or failure to keep their skills and qualifications up to date. Still, others have been fortunate enough to have had stepping stones, laid by others, conveniently placed under their feet. For those, career planning may seem a tiresome, even a boring task that holds little value. This is understandable and may even be regarded as a plan in itself. However when the luck runs out, the stepping stones vaporise and old alliances evaporate, a feeling of ‘Career Isolation’ can take hold. Career Isolation can occur when individuals feel a sense of being on their own, left to their own devices and devoid of support from others. This can be a desolate and unforgiving place where self-efficacy and self-esteem can become elusive. Career isolation has always been around but it’s now dynamite when combined with rapid technological and social change. In short, we can no longer rely on only past paradigms of career development. Something new needs to augment career growth.
Increasingly the pace of change, bearing down us like a fast moving train, can make us feel like wanting to jump out of its road. Moreover, the harsh reality is that the tall office towers that proudly line our CBDs will soon be silent of workers who have been replaced by artificial intelligence in shape of automation or robots and converted to apartments. We can choose to ignore this revolution or we can embrace the change and take advantage of the excitement and opportunities it offers. However, in this remarkable new order of things and unlike yester year, career success will take some planning and forethought.
Just like organisations, we need a vision, a strategy, to take calculated risks and to have a solid game plan to chart our careers. Equally we need the courage of our convictions to execute our vision and above all perseverance to ameliorate difficult challenges that will inevitably emerge. In this way, career isolation can be avoided and not feared. In fact our careers have the potential to reflect our imaginations and provide an exciting journey of success and satisfaction like never before.
This blog has deliberately avoided listing a series of ‘easy steps’ to follow because there is just one, start planning in the context of current and future environment, it’s exciting and never too late!