We are living in a fast-paced, unstable time period where things change swiftly and dramatically. The corporate world is more dynamic and chaotic than ever. The advancement of technology, globalisation and the corporate view that employees are disposable have all changed the game. We can no longer view our careers as safe and immune from change.
It’s career self-sabotage to believe that things will stay the same and that you’ll confidently climb up the corporate ladder. It’s career malpractice to act like an ostrich, stick your head in the ground, hope for the best and ignore the reality of the changes happening around you. You need to be bold and confident in managing your career in the face of uncertainty.
It’s not easy nor is it pleasant to think about, but you must do it. Start a plan to prepare for your future.
Change your mindset on several fronts
We all enjoy a little humble brag about what we do for a living when we meet new people or sit down at a family dinner. While that’s fine, you’ll need to divorce your ego and attachment to your current career. If and when the time comes that you no longer work for the company or your type of job isn’t in demand, you have to be mentally and emotionally ready to walk away. You can’t let your identity be wrapped up in your job. If that happens, your self-esteem will be broken when you no longer hold a high-status position with a prestigious top-tier corporation. Being too attached to the prestige of your career and all the trappings of success and power can hamper your ability to pivot toward something new when it needs to be done.
Tech proficiency is not the only answer
You must work on your communication skills. This includes knowing how to write—memos, emails and business letters. You must learn how to pick up the phone, call someone in an important position and hold a conversation. You also have to be assertive at times. Living in an “instant-message culture” creates a generation of people who are transaction-oriented to us is not conducive to the long-form conversations that are needed in many instances. Face-to-face communication is essential for you or you will not survive nor will you thrive at the workplace.
Be flexible and open-minded
At a certain point in your career, you may have to find a new job or relocate. The area that you work in may not be in demand and you will have to start all over again. You may have to reinvent yourself several times over the course of your work life. You can’t fight change. You will need to learn how to adapt. It helps to always keep reading and learning, so you’re aware of what direction the wind is blowing.
Technology is revolutionizing almost everything
Even if you are not working in tech, high probability is that you will need to know some coding. More employers like to see and sometimes even require programming skills for non-tech roles, particularly in industries like finance. According to some reports, as many as half of all non-tech jobs require some programming skills. In finance, VBA, SQL and Python are the languages most commonly required because they are used to manage, manipulate and visualize data, as well as automate repetitive processes.
You can look at it in two ways. The first is to lament about the fact that there will be changes that adversely impact your career and be resentful, afraid and angry. The second is to adopt a more positive outlook by hoping for the best, yet planning ahead to manage uncertainties. View change as a way to reinvent yourself by pursuing new opportunities and learning new skills. The experience may turn out to be the best thing that ever happened to you!