One thing is clear: twenty-first century success won’t be guaranteed by a particular major, a certain profession, a specific job title, or the latest skill. It won’t come from discovering the right next job, industry, company, or idea. Those are moving targets.
Today’s rate of change is measured in years, not centuries. It’s life at warp-speed, where job security doesn’t exist, and today’s hottest jobs, gadgets, and approaches are tomorrow’s antiques. Just consider what happened to the music industry in ten years. Vinyl records anyone?
That means real job loss recovery and career sustainability will be determined by one’s ability to transform with the times. Here are three evergreen keys that will help you:
Translated as "I am still learning" or "Still, I am learning," ancora imparo is attributed to Michelangelo in his eighty-seventh year. The man whose very name evokes mastery of his craft, exemplifies a lifelong learning philosophy.
Contrast him with a fifty-two year old executive, who touted in an interview that he’d never written or sent an email, refused to read staff messages via email, let alone use social media tools, or smart technologies.
Continuous learning is not an age, but a mind-set.
Status quo individuals can be found in any age group. I’ve known as many twenty-five year olds as fifty-five year olds with this self-limiting mentality.
People who stop learning stifle their opportunities, reduce their results, and limit their career options. Are you a finished product or a work in progress? How you answer will impact your future.
But here’s the good news: it’s never too late to embrace ancora imparo as a guiding principle for your career.
Some say the only constant in life is change. But in your life, the only constant is you. Anchor the chaos, discomfort, uncertainty, and fear that accompany job loss to the unchangeable core within you.
The choice looks like this: you can move with the change-currents, bobbing like a buoy in the ocean and go nowhere, or you can paddle toward your future with a sturdy oar of your unique talents, core-values, and resilient spirit.
Of course, this requires self-reflection to discover your inner strengths and personal compass.
People with career sustainability find their way in a changed and changing world through inner navigation and core connection. That way, they know which changes to embrace, which to leverage with their talents into successful opportunities, and which to ignore. They calm the waves of change in their life by drawing from what’s inside them that doesn’t change.
Psychologist Rollo May said, "In modern society, the opposite of courage is not cowardice, it is conformity."
Thought conformity impacts creativity, independent analysis, and reflective judgment - all prized skills in the workplace.
Regurgitating others’ thoughts or repackaging others’ opinions won’t differentiate you in the sea of sameness. Thinking is using your judgment, reasoning, and inference to attain clear ideas and reach conclusions. It’s looking at multiple sides of an issue with open-mindedness.
Independent thinkers recognize that just because something sounds credible, certain, and believable, doesn’t make it true. They question, challenge, and probe. They welcome thoughtful exchange, debate, and dialogue. And they’re opened to being challenged and thoughtfully engaged.
When a future employer or client asks them what they think, they’re ready to offer coherent and reflective well-developed thoughts. That thinking difference makes all the difference. These are the people who will get hired again and again and again because they bring great value to their work, and the workplace.
From the Iron Age to nearly the Industrial Age, blacksmiths prospered. It was a sound professional choice. Yet, this vital profession was all but eliminated in a few generations. Who could have envisioned affordable mass-produced items lining the shelves of big box stores, or anticipated societal changes incomprehensible at the time? How many current professions will go the way of the blacksmith?
What offers you long-term career sustainability is adding these evergreen approaches of life-long learning, inner navigation, and independent thinking to your job loss recovery plan. Use them to build a road to your career future.
About this author...
Job Loss Recovery Expert Nan S. Russell discovered a Stanford degree didn’t protect her from being fired from her first professional job. From minimum wage to Vice President of a multi-billion dollar company, she learned the hard way. Now she helps others with what does and doesn’t work at work. The author of three career books including, The Titleless Leader, Hitting Your Stride, and Nibble Your Way to Success, Nan is a national speaker and work issues consultant. More at NanRussell.com; and her job loss seminar: Rebooting After Job Loss.