By Lisa Chenofsky Singer
As appeared in The Star Ledger Guest Column “Hire Me” (www.nj.com)
The term “resilience” is defined as an ability to recover from or adjust easily to change.
But how does this apply to careers?
Today, many of us will have multiple careers during our life. We will need to be in constant learning mode to keep up with new technologies and demands of both the local and global marketplaces. Taking time to combine new ideas, data and possibilities enables us to reflect, integrate, plan and envision the future. When we do not take this time, we make quick decisions that may not be to our best advantage. These snap decisions can detour us and affect our career, our satisfaction and, ultimately, our resilience.
At the same time, the marketplace demands are constantly changing based on available resources and global impacts. Today’s market asks us to define ourselves with a niche specialty.
You need to understand your skills and figure out what you need to learn to remain current and build for the future. Reinventing is like evolution — to survive, you need to learn how to adapt to the environment.
When we graduated from school, we had a vision of what life would be like. As a human resources and coaching professional, I understand the need to be resilient and manage one’s career.
While some organizations actively develop their employees, others only focus on the bottom line, leaving you, the employee, to manage your own career development. Regardless of the organization, it is essential to have your own development plan and a vision for your future.
So how does one maintain career resilience? Here are a few ways:
ENVISION YOUR FUTURE
You need to have a vision for yourself. Where do you see yourself now and in the years to come — not in terms of a particular title or position, but rather, how do you want to be known? What story do you want told about you when you are not present? And what stories do you want to be retold time and time again? This is your reputation or your legacy, which you leave behind when you leave a company or after you complete a phase of a project.
DEVELOP YOUR SKILLS
Learning the skills necessary for your next opportunity is another critical factor for career resilience. Within some organizations, development plans are intended to guide your learning and experiences to enable you to reach your next targeted opportunity. This opportunity may be internal, either a lateral or upward movement, or external to the organization. Either way, your road map should follow your vision for your future. This plan may include identifying formal and informal training opportunities and finding projects and developmental assignments that will help to refine and/or develop key skills or competencies. It may include volunteer opportunities that develop, enrich or enhance your skills and your network and helps you to build your reputation.
Learning to build creditability and trust with others is critical for success. And successful relationships are the key to your next opportunity.
MAKING YOUR PLAN HAPPEN
It will take more effort to learn new skills and leverage what you know into what is in demand. Some skills may be self-taught. Other skills may need hands-on experience. Yet other skills may require formal training. When an employee is performing adequately, many mangers with limited budgets in this economy have little incentive to develop their staff. This is when you need to own your own development. You are in charge of your career. At the end of the day, whether you advance or remain stagnant is based on your own initiative. The important thing is to plan time each week to work on sharpening your skills and managing your relationships. If we “pay ourselves first,” our investments will benefit both ourselves and the companies in which we work.