The modern world presents us with a picture of career and what comes with it that is very different than many of us saw growing up. After the recession that affected many people globally, the face of the workforce changed. Instead of finding yourself in a specific career field with a clearly marked path to follow, the goal is now to maneuver your ship among rough and unpredictable waters. Career insecurity permeates every area of life and can often leave people dealing with heightened levels of stress. It’s important to devise a personalized approach to managing career insecurity so that you can still maintain your well-being.
The Initial Impact of Career Instability
Whether you had a steady career and lost it, or you entered the workforce at a time of unpredictability, the initial sensation of trying to provide and survive on a rickety foundation is downright scary. Once the shock of being forced to navigate erratic waters wears off, it is common for people to enter a state similar to grief. The presence of anger replaces shock, and eventually a feeling of hopelessness can set in.
The depth of the emotional response connected to living with career instability can be surprising. While it seems like the logical reaction is to immediately adopt an active, solution-focused approach to facing the challenge, emotions often make themselves known in a manner that cannot be ignored. This can be unsettling for some, as they find it difficult to sidestep their emotions to find practical solutions.
This anger-denial phase of navigating career insecurity, mirrors the grief process, and can take people months to integrate and transform into resilience and motivation to move forward. Once you are able to accept the reality of your challenging career situation, you will be able to work on developing a specific type of discipline focused on overcoming the associated obstacles.
Resetting Your Mindset
Discipline in any form begins with the ability to choose your mindset. In the face of career insecurity, it is tempting and easy to choose a fearful perception or attitude. Practicing mindfulness can help keep you in a mindset that is more positive but also grounded.
When we think about achieving career stability, we often have a concrete visual in mind, some form of a destination. While this way of thinking may have made sense in the past when career options were more stable and uniform, present times call for creative thinking. Rather than equating career stability with a specific goal or destination, we can reframe our thoughts to adopt the idea that the career journey can provide us with a sense of stability.
This shift centers around detaching career stability from a specific path or position, and attaching it to your personal intrinsic toolkit. The modern workforce evaluates potential based on skills. This is great news because it means that you can choose to build up your current skill set and acquire new skills along the way. If you have a toolkit filled with a variety of solid skills, you will find that you are able to adapt.
Dig Deeper and Map Your Skills
If you feel overwhelmed by the prospect of adopting a whole new mindset and belief system about your career path, simply do yourself the favor of starting with a small step. Map out your skills. There are many ways to map your skills and various forms of guidance to do so available.
The purpose behind mapping out your skills is to really break everything down to the bare bones to see what you are working with. When you have a concrete visual or written representation of your current skill set, you will be able to brainstorm about career possibilities.
Each skill will give you insight into your current levels of competency in different areas and your potential for growth. As you analyze and connect your skills, you will likely come up with innovative ideas about career paths you could follow.
Our modern and advanced world is filled with accessible information and knowledge that you can pull from in order to polish current skills or build new ones from scratch. The trick is to shift into a mindset that is open to all potentialities for work, jobs, career, or however you choose to label that area of your life.
Recalibrating to Embrace Modern Career Paths
The key to success in the modern workforce is the ability and willingness to transform yourself. Acceptance is crucial. Things are not what they once were in terms of securing a career. That is just the way it is. Facing that truth will allow you to move forward toward the career abundance available to you. If you are struggling to integrate the essence of the modern career reality, try exploring these points:
- Prestige and compensation do not have to be your first priority.
This is a shift in mindset that can be difficult if you have witnessed people close to you engaging in the framework of ‘climbing the ladder.’ This corporate mentality once dominated the workforce but we have now entered a time based more on creativity, flexibility, and willingness to learn.
- Consider experimenting.
With the workforce functioning much more fluidly than in the past, you have the opportunity to try new things and put yourself in positions that you may not have previously considered. Exercise some of your more dormant skills or ask your boss to let you have a go with a task you don’t usually take on. Loosening up might help spark your inner resourcefulness and creativity.
- Remember your passions.
We can choose to look at career instability in different ways. We can perceive it as an obstacle or major challenge in life, or we can choose to see it as an opportunity to be the authors of our career stories. If you find yourself in murky career waters and unsure which path to follow, connect with your inner child and allow your passions a seat at the table. They could guide you to a life that is both stable and deeply fulfilling.
Like everything else in life, navigating career instability with ease and grace comes down to being intentional about your attitude toward the experience. Focus on growth, flexibility, and creativity, and consider shaping a career path that suits you. If fear or anxiety strikes, remember that your career is a journey not a destination.