Essential Resources for Managing Career Change During the last 25 years there has been a complete shift in the world of work. People used to start work for an employer in their 20's, performing largely the same job, with a few promotions, until they retired in their 60's. Current economic conditions have all but eliminated predictability. It has become routine for people to find themselves at a crossroads in their career path. The average American changes careers 4 to 5 times in the course of her or his working life. People change jobs or career paths for a wide range of reasons. Many people look for a new challenge after working a career path for a number of years or which no longer seems like a good match for their interests. For others, economic problems within companies, regions and industries and off-shoring jobs can motivate a job or career change before a person would otherwise start looking for a new direction. You may find yourself looking at career change for these or other reasons. This workshop will address some tools to navigate rapid changes in your career path. I want to discuss with you some of the essential elements of tracking your career development over the life-span to further progress toward your career goals. All these elements can be discussed with a career counselor whom you would consult periodically, much as you would a doctor, accountant or other consultant. Issues we will cover: Purpose and Vision Life-long Learning Adaptability Information Community Purpose and Vision We are used to attaching much of our sense of identity to our jobs and places of residence - things that used to be somewhat stable, but are now subject to frequent change. Learning how to make the most of change is a life-long process. As your interests evolve and values deepen over time, you may find ways to enjoy the process of change by using it to explore new activities or pursue interests. In order to take best advantage of changes in career opportunities, personal goals and vision are more important than ever as an anchor to stay on track with your development. You may find the worksheet for writing your own Professional Motivation Statement helpful. We will revisit the concept of motivation throughout the workshop. This will give you an easy formula for creating a first draft of your own motivation statement from this worksheet, which has been used by a number of counselors and authors. Step 1. To use Personal Motivation Statement worksheet, start first by identifying 2 or 3 of your key skills you most want to use. The list provided is there as suggestions to generate ideas. You are not limited to the words on the list. The hard part of this exercise is focusing in on the particular skills you get the most satisfaction out of using. Step 2. Next you will want to select the groups of people (or animals) or causes you most want to serve using these skills. Again, The list is there to generate ideas. Step 3. From here you have the concepts to write a first draft of your own Personal Motivation Statement. You may find that you refine this statement over a period of time as you clarify your goals. How closely do your current activities (work and others) support the ideas in your statement? Are you off track or burned out and need a change or are you on the right track but needing to refuel your career momentum? Think about what you want to do, where you want to be, and how you want to get there. It's often helpful to discuss all this with a career counselor who can help with assessment, decision-making and life direction planning. Life Long Learning Building learning into your life is one of the best ways to to keep your career options open. Continued learning builds the skills to keep life and work interesting and growing. Naturally, as a Regis student or alumnus, you have engaged in interactive and experiential learning which you may have experience in a classroom setting, an online setting or some of each to complete your degree. One of the first things you may have learned at Regis is that learning how to learn is the key. People informally update their skills all the time, often without knowing it. For example, you update your skills in using the Internet almost every time you search for information online. Everything you read, each challenge at home or on the job that you face teaches you something new. Our focus for this section is on transferable skills. Effective learning builds on skills that transfer from job to job and industry to industry. Transferable skills usually fit into three main categories. Management / Organizational (supervise, plan, budget, compile) Communication / Interpersonal (listen, educate, negotiate, sell) Problem Solving / Innovation (design, adapt, simplify, reorganize, program) Many of us take for granted the things we do well. You may want to ask people you work with or know you well about the skills they see in you, as well as the skills you see in yourself. Using the Transferable Skills Checklist, circle skills on this sheet, ask yourself which of these skills match those needed for the vision from the Motivation Statement. As you use this worksheet, as yourself: Which do you need to build on? Are there other skills not included on the sheet that you would identify? Which skills do I want to acquire? Circle them in a different color. Are there skills that you are very good at, but have little interest in using again? Even these capabilities may serve you well in a different setting. Meeting new challenges with new skills and knowledge helps you adjust to the fact that many jobs require a different range of skills. If it seems like the rules of career progress have changed in the middle of the game, it's because they have, but you can make it work to your advantage. Continuing formal education is an investment of time and money. If you have a lot of new material to learn, you'll want to prioritize and choose which skills to learn first. Tackling new learning one skill or class at a time makes your goals more attainable. A Regis University Center for Career and Professional Development Career Counselor can help you plan your continuing education strategy to help you pursue your goals and track your career development. Adaptability This is a challenging area because change is often externally imposed. We rarely have as much control over change as we'd like. Learning to manage frequent transitions keeps us flexible and adaptable. This is a tremendous skill to develop in an evolving economy. It's helpful to remember that transition is a process that takes place over time; it's not a momentary event. I'm going to draw from a few authors for help here. Mark Twain once said "Habit is habit and not to be flung out the window … but coaxed downstairs a step at a time." William Bridges, author of Transitions writes about change as an external event or catalyst that triggers transition which is the process people go though to adjust to change. Productive change takes time. Bridges describes transition as a neutral zone between the ending of something old and the beginning of something new when creativity and experimentation can flourish, during this time organizations and jobs develop into new shapes and sizes—they become more fluid and less mechanical - harder to put on a flow chart. Organizational mergers are a good example of this. Predictability will not always be desirable in the search for progress. Making the most of new opportunities in a fluid workplace becomes an important and meaningful challenge. Becoming portable, being able to change jobs, career, locations, companies, works best if we remember our transferable skills. Morale Curve for Adjustment to Change from the Menninger Leadership Center Arrival: Change has happened. Mix of shock, disbelief, numbness, false hope. "Nothing will really change and if it does, it won't affect me." Realization: Impact hits. Anger, frustration, confusion, anxiety or depression dominate people's thoughts as they see the negative possibilities. Acceptance: Reorganizing thoughts around resources, decisions, planning and actions. Seeing the positive possibilities, act on new opportunities improves morale and performance. Reentry: Moving in a new direction with a sense of what they learned and gained from the change. Making friends with change helps you see it as a catalyst for new opportunities. Where do you find yourself in this process? What changes might you want to initiate to promote your goals from your Motivation Statement? Information Gathering and using Information to the fullest is another tool in managing change and fueling career success. Having facts and new ideas from a variety of reliable sources helps you map out the next part of your career path. Arm yourself with information from all sources includes: Electronic - Information that helps you find, sort, store and update information at a speed that keeps pace with the changing world. Examples: Internet, tv, radio, video media, online magazines, databases, directories and journals Print - Hard copy information resources are still around and useful. They haven't been replaced because they are portable and cannot be easily altered. Examples: Books, legal documents, printed magazines, directories and journals Personal There is no substitute for person-to-person information. Nothing you read can tell you what a person can convey, especially when it comes to career information. Information interviewing and networking are still the most useful tools in any successful job search or career transition. With all information formats, consider the source.Investigate the credentials of anyone giving any format of information just as you'd read the label on a food product before buying it. Sources will not just come from your field. Community Your personal and professional network can act as an anchor during times of change, making the process of transition more comfortable. There is no need to face constant change alone when you can be part of a team. Keeping track of your network helps you discover that you have more good contacts than you may think. Your Professional Circle can include a personal board of advisors that you organize as well as people you mentor. This is a concept found in a variety of sources including Gregg Levoy's book, Callings. Determine whom you trust to have your best interests at heart. Your advisors will not just come from your field. Solicit feedback and ideas from your board of advisors individually or in a group over coffee, lunch, golf, hiking or some other activity. Consider also those people whom you advise formally and informally. Remember that some important contacts will fall into neither category, but may be listed as personal information sources. Foster your own development by mentoring others. Close connections with someone new to your field benefits both parties. Helping others negotiate change keeps your own perspective fresh. You'll be more aware of this if you track your mentoring. The competitive paradigm is being softened with a renewed sense of collaboration and teamwork. Synergy of work teams and collaborative efforts creates vitality for people and organizations. Productive collaboration is a fine art, but when it's mastered, the results increase energy to help keep your career change moving. Part of your community connection includes checking in with career counselor as you would with your coach or physician. Just as a good physician can track healthy development, a career counselor can help you track progress toward your goals by helping you define your issues, identify resources, develop solutions and move toward implementing those solutions as part of an overall strategy with your life mission as the focal point. You may fill out these exercises and, after looking at the results, think you'd like to plan a change or shift in your career path. Or you might look for a new approach to maintaining vitality on your current path. Either way, your support community, including periodic check-ins with a career counselor provides encouragement and new ideas. Putting it all Together Making a career change takes time, planning, patience and support. The Career Counselors at Regis University Center for Career and Professional Development are available to assist with in-person and telephone appointments, as well as email assistance to help you determine a course of action and implement your next career move. Job seekers find that writing a resume, conducting an effective job search campaign, or developing a career plan will progress more easily by clarifying the core mission and tapping into the other elements we discussed: education, information, adaptability and community. Career Counselors in Regis University Center for Career and Professional Development can help you with your career development needs, including helping you navigate and manage a career change. Call 303-458-3508 (800-388-2366 x3508) to make an in-person, phone or Skype appointment.