Being intentional and proactive when it comes to your career is something that I’m very passionate about, and that I’ve been evangelising about for years. But I think it’s all the more important – and maybe also all the more daunting – right now, in the context of the uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 and its as-yet-unknown impact on the economy and the job market.
*Resources mentioned during the episode*
The One Step Outside Facebook group– Join us over in the Facebook group to meet like-minded people who are working on reimagining success in their life and business and to get access to direct support and free training sessions from Anna. www.facebook.com/groups/onestepoutside
Watch the Webinar – Learn to be proactive in designing the next phase of your career and lay the foundations for meaningful success. Watch it here: www.onestepoutside.com/takecontrol
How to take control of your career
Hello there. Welcome back. Great to have you with me. Last week, we were talking about dealing with those dreaded curveballs. Of course, they are inevitable. We have these beautiful visions, and strategies, and plans, and yet somehow the world manages to throw these crazy unexpected things at us. We’re looking at you COVID-19. These are so-called unprecedented challenges, and uncertainty, and difficulties, and it’s frightening, and it’s shocking, and it can feel unfair. Yet, there are opportunities to be had. In the last few weeks and months, we have been looking at some of those in terms of really stepping up and being a leader through this crisis, maybe using the downtime to fix things in your business and look at what’s going on, what’s working, what’s not, and so on, and maybe diversifying and pivoting in your business too.
What I want you to look at this week is how to take control of your career, so not just maybe if you’re already a business owner, but whatever your current situation looks like, or how to really be proactive, take control, be intentional about what the next phase of your career is going to look like, and in particular, given the uncertainty, given these challenges that we are facing. Again, these are so-called unprecedented challenges, and there are certainly lots of unpredictable consequences.
But, you know what? Before COVID, there was Brexit, and there’d been all sorts of other things. We talked about some of the curveballs last week. The reality is there will always be uncertainty, and there will always be things that outside of your control. What I see is the danger, the risk, is that we remain quite passive and we allow ourselves to get swept away, I suppose, either just reacting to the things that happen to come our way or not doing anything at all. Just sort of being in that grump, and complaining, and feeling frustrated, which is completely understandable. But there is a point at which we need to sort of pick ourselves up and go, yes, it sucks. It’s unfair, but hey, now I’m going to do what I can do, which is, by the way, a lot. There are a lot of things we can do that. There are lots of things that we can still control and really, again, be proactive and intentional.
What we don’t want to do is just sit on our bums and wait for a recruiter to come along and give us our dream job, or wait for the perfect business idea to come along, or wait for that spark of inspiration, wait for that incredible opportunity to come along. Because yes, there are incredible opportunities, and maybe there is a dream job, or an incredible business idea, whatever that looks like out there. It’s very unlikely just to plop down into your lap. So sorry to disappoint you.
Again, there are opportunities. I’m not talking about painting really bleak picture here. If anything, I’m talking about the fantastic chance you have now to rethink, to reconfigure, regroup, and reimagine the next phase of your career. And then, again, be very proactive in how you design that next phase.
Again, you want to be proactive. And when I say proactive, I don’t mean sending out 200 job applications, updating your CV, cold calling, adding everyone you can find on LinkedIn, whatever that looks like. I’m not talking about manically signing up to every recruiter, and so on. The truth is that recruiters, as fantastic as they are, play a certain function. They will match you to whatever job happens to seem the best fit on paper.
The reason why I say that is that, if we’re talking about pivoting, changing direction, in our career in particular, so if we’re talking about, maybe let’s say… A couple of scenarios, so maybe you’ve been furloughed during COVID-19, and this is really prompting you to think differently about your career. You’re thinking, “Hold on a second. I love being at home by myself, with my partner, with my family. I hated the commute. I can’t imagine going back to the same mindless job as before.” Now, you’re thinking maybe things can look a bit different. Or, maybe you’ve been really hit hard by this pandemic. Maybe you’ve been actually not just furloughed, but made redundant. Of course, your concern now about, how on earth am I going to find another job? What does that look like? And so on. Or maybe, you know what you’ve been thinking for a long time that you wanted to leave this job and do something else. And now, it just feels like as good a time as any, I suppose, to go about doing that.
Whatever situation you’re in, and when you’re making a change, you are the one who’s going to need to drive that change. Again, coming back to the recruiter, recruiter will look at my CV when I left my marketing job at Proctor & Gamble and go, okay, luxury marketing, beauty marketing, and those were the roles that they recommended to me. Perhaps, sometimes it was that they thought I could be a consultant, because there’s always the companies that want to nab you, I suppose, from the big multinationals. But generally, it was big FMCG, consumer goods, marketing, and in particular then in high-end luxury and beauty products.
That wasn’t what I wanted to do. And yet, it took me years to say no to opportunities, which, yes, is pretty scary, say no to those opportunities that came along that were trying to pigeonhole me into what had been my experience and skillset, and to say yes to initially, volunteering, working with startups and entrepreneurs, and really crafting a new identity, building a personal brand around the broad areas of, again, advising startups, working outside of that beauty and luxury industry. Coaching, so I trained and certified as a coach, writing, training, teaching, and these broader concepts, and skills, and experiences, and sectors, and so on. But, that took time.
And now again, what is it, seven years since I left my job, I might want to pivot again. That is going to take time, because now I’ve established myself as helping people leave the corporate nine to five, reimagine success, transition into a new career, and so on. And so, if I wanted to suddenly do something else, that’s going to take some time to steer the ship off in the other direction.
Again, you need to be proactive. It’s not about bombarding recruiters and online applications with your details. But, it is about, first of all, taking a step back and getting clear on what it is you want. I know that’s what I always talk about on this podcast. That’s what this is all about.
The hardest part is getting clear on what’s important to you, what that looks like, whether it’s the really practical parameters. I don’t want to have a long commute on the M25. I don’t want to have to go to the office every day. I don’t want to work in a toxic work culture. So, all the negative things you want to avoid, and the practical, I need this amount of salary, and so on. Also, the things you’re drawn to. I’ve talked before about the push and the pull, the things that are pushing you out of what you’re doing now, and the things that are pulling you towards greater freedom and autonomy, greater flexibility in terms of where and when you work, greater fulfilment from doing something you feel is really meaningful. So getting clear on what you want has to be that first fundamental step.
The last thing you want to do now is to rush into something, again, bombarding the internet with all your CVs and applications, and so on, or start a business because you had this idea, and it’s going to be great, and I need money, and I’m going to diversify, and whatever. Because, what you don’t want to do is spend time, energy, and money on something that probably isn’t going to be what you actually want, because you haven’t really given it that much thought. So, getting clear on what you want. And then, you can work out how to get there. So, always the what, before you get to the how.
In terms of the how, it might require up-skilling. You’ll need to take responsibility for your own learning and development.
Certainly, if you’re out of the employment environment, you no longer have an employer who is… And even if you have an employer, they might not be willing to invest in your training and development. That’s going to be really important. There might be certain gaps you need to fill. Importantly, and, of course, I talk about this quite a bit, building a personal brand and a network of connections. Again, it’s not just about sitting around waiting for dream job or any job to fall into your lap. It’s really making sure that you’re doing everything that you can.
Building a brand, and I know it can feel a bit icky to think of yourself as a brand, and hey, I’m just an individual. Why on earth would I need a brand? The truth is that you have a brand. Whether you want to have one or not, it’s what people think of you, what people say when you’re out outside of the room.
Positioning yourself, probably on LinkedIn. Certainly, right now, we obviously limited to online more generally, but really positioning yourself as someone who knows their stuff, who’s sharing content, engaging in conversations, being a real contributor in a particular space. You don’t have to be the guru. You don’t have to be the top expert, but you’re contributing to the discussion. You’re saying interesting things. You’re showing that you know stuff about whatever it is that you’re wanting to work in. That will get you so much further. It’s going to open up so many doors to opportunities and connections that you never would have had otherwise.
Just imagine, even when you do get to that stage of uploading your CV and your cover letter to some application, if that person who’s responsible, whether it’s the HR manager, more likely the hiring manager, the director, the CEO of that company, has been engaging with you on LinkedIn, and seeing your stuff, and had conversations with you about these latest trends in the industry, surely that’s going to give you a leg up. That’s going to give you a better positioning than if you’re just one of 300 anonymous applications. I’ve given you a few ideas already. Just touched a little bit on getting clear on what it is you want, maybe up-skilling, building that personal brand.
However, I want to go into this in more detail, and I’ve just recorded for you a new webinar. It’s about an hour long. It’s a free session that you can sign up to at onestepoutside.com/takecontrol, onestepoutside.com/takecontrol. This is going to be a session. It’s prerecorded. You can choose a slot that works for you at times lots. I just talk through five different stages. I’ve touched on a little bit right now, but much more detail, and how you can design a roadmap that’s going to really take you from, okay, this is an opportunity, there is a chance here of crafting a slightly different direction, a drastically different direction, whatever that might look like for you. And, I can control this. There are things I can do. I don’t have to just wait around worrying about what’s going to happen. The magic is, and I wrote a blog post about this years ago that got picked up by Business Insider, and [inaudible 00:10:51], and Huffington, all sorts, the opportunities do appear.
You seem to have all the luck when you have put that effort in. If you really put the hard work in, if you really get clear on what it is you want, if you send that message out to the universe, if you start sharing content, you connect with people, you have those conversations, that is when those opportunities appear. Again, you can sign up to the webinar at onestepoutside.com/takecontrol, onestepoutside.com/takecontrol. At the end, as ever, I’ll give you some next steps that you can take, which of course will include booking a call with me, potentially, to look at how I can help you navigate this transition as well.
It is an exciting time. I know it’s scary. I know it can feel unfair and frustrating. But, once you’re ready to accept what is happening, what has happened, accept that there will always be uncertainty, and these curve balls that we talked about last week, and then look for the opportunities, look for how we can create solutions, focus on what we can control, this may well be an incredible, exciting, time for you, and perhaps even the best thing that’s ever happened. So, look forward to seeing you on the webinar. Look forward to speaking to you soon. Have a wonderful week, and I’ll see you next week. Bye for now.
Connect with Anna:
If you’re ready to start to reimagine what success could look like for you, here are some of the ways in which Anna can support you:
Get private mentoring for your business– Partnering with a business coach can help you see those blind spots and get both external accountability and expert guidance to take your business to where you want it to be. www.onestepoutside.com/freeconsultation
Get private career coaching – Individual coaching is fully tailored to your specific goals and desires so we can create the programme that works best for you, with the support that you need to move forwards. www.onestepoutside.com/claritycall
Grab a copy of Leaving the Corporate 9 to 5 – After interviewing 50 people who have left the corporate 9 to 5 to forge their own path, Anna has collected their stories in a book that will inspire you with the possibilities that are out there and reassure you that you’re not alone in looking for an alternative. www.leavingthecorporate9to5.com
Join the One Step Outside the 9 to 5 Business Incubator – This is your roadmap to transitioning from a corporate job into setting up a meaningful business that will bring you more freedom, flexibility and fulfilment outside of the corporate 9 to 5. www.onestepoutside.com/9to5
Up-level with The Outsiders Business Accelerator – This is a mastermind for entrepreneurs, freelancers and small business owners who want to create a long-term sustainable brand and business. www.onestepoutside.com/accelerate