Change at WorkBy Barbara Wulf
Fall is the season I can sum up in one word, change. The change is predictable. Every year we experience fall with the changing color of the leaves, cooler temperatures, and retiring the lawn mower for the snow blower. The season of change isn’t always marked by the same day or week, but we know it will come. The change is predictable.
Change in the job market is not so predictable and often not in our control. Looking around the employment landscape, we see change. Farmland becomes housing development, jobs are relocating or becoming obsolete along with companies downsizing or closing facilities. The big picture of change in the job market is complex. Change is inevitable.
Prepare for change
As an employee, what can you do to arm yourself for the changing job market? Take charge of yourself. The Boy Scout motto of “be prepared” is sound advice. You cannot control the changing job market, but you can take charge of your career and employability. Focus on YOU. Look inward and not merely outward for solutions. This isn’t the easy way, but it is a necessity. Many of us tend to look outward for blame or procrastinate on this exercise.
Take ownership of your career path
Reevaluate your career satisfaction. Career satisfaction encompasses opportunity, challenges, rewards, leadership, compensation, relationships…it is what you value at work. Explore your options. Where is your career taking you, and where do you want to take your career? This step is a big one and often requires a sounding board or advisory board. Often a spouse, good friend or colleague is a starting place, but some will seek help from professional career coach or consultant for objective feedback.
Invest in yourself
There’s a simple phrase: If it is to be, it is up to me. These words can be motivating and empowering. It does start at the “me” level. Look at your skills. Is it time to retool or redesign your career? Be proactive, rather than reactive. Lifelong learning is a key. To stay in step with the changing workplace, your attitude, time management, and budgeting for the future may need a tune-up as well.
Change can incite a number of emotions in us. So, when we learn of change at work, we can feel fear, dread, anxiety, apathy, and so on. The more you exercise the muscle of change, the less stress and unprepared you will feel. We can become creatures of habit and work in our comfort zone, but I encourage you not to get too comfortable or naive about the change that could be lurking around the corner. Don’t let the muscle of change become atrophied. Read and be informed about workplace issues. Be aware of local, national and industry economic conditions that influence your job. Industries are dynamic. They are impacted by suppliers, customers and competitors. Understand how all of these factors are influencing your job and opportunities.
Fall is a season of change. What change are you willing to initiate to be prepared for the future job market?