Where to turn for a new direction
There’s movement at the work station for the word has passed around: you can spend the rest of your working life in many places, writes Michael Lund
PEOPLE should put their career options up for review if they want to seek new work challenges.
Career Development Association of Australia president Carole Brown (pictured) says more people are looking to change jobs, especially if they are bored or unhappy with their current work.
Talk of a skill shortage, an ageing population and a need for people to spend more years at work are encouraging people to seek something new. ‘‘We’ve got a Government who are saying we are going to have to continue working until we’re 99 by the looks of things,’’ Brown says.
‘‘All jokes aside, the fact of the matter is that people will be, and are, working longer in their lives so we are experiencing a lot more career change. We can expect seven to 10 major career changes in our lifespan at the moment.’’
That’s a lot of movement in the workplace and the risk for employers is that they may lose valuable staff to places that offer more of a challenge.
But some employees not happy in their present jobs may not know where to go for help.
‘‘People are often very confused, they don’t know what to do and they don’t know how to think about it,’’ Brown says. ‘‘Engaging a career coach or career counsellor is a good starting point.’’
A career counsellor can look at a person’s skills and experience to see what other career opportunities may be available.
‘‘Very often people feel disempowered,’’ Brown says. ‘‘They feel they don’t have the skills they need or they don’t know what skills are needed for a new career.
‘‘To be truly career resilient, what people have got to do is to be checking in all the time about how they’re tracking with their careers. Are they making the progression they want? Are they learning what they want? Do they have good referees if they wanted to change jobs today?’’
Brown says a career counsellor can help by looking at a
person’s hopes and aspirations, which may have changed significantly from when they started out in a career.
Some career changes may require new skills, so training and education options need to be considered.
‘‘A career counsellor will work through a process with somebody that focuses on identifying what their values are, what their skills are, what their interests are, what’s important to them and what they can do,’’ she says.
‘‘Typically it also brings into account a whole set of tools on how to job-search effectively, how to network well, how to prepare a good resume, how to go for an interview.’’
It’s similar to the advice that’s offered to school-leavers and graduates who are looking to make their first step on any career ladder.
But Brown says those already in a career seldom seek advice on their future options.
It’s something she says the industry is keen to address and why the Career Development Association of Australia is involved in this weekend’s Reinvent Your Career Expo at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre.
The expo is aimed at those already in a career but who are looking at options for change. Dozens of career counsellors are volunteering their time to take part in the expo and will be on hand to offer help and advice.
Expo managing director Nicholas Ricciuti says most people don’t know what a career counsellor is and what help they can offer.
‘‘I always explain it this way,’’ he says. ‘‘If you’ve got a legal problem you go see a lawyer, if you’ve got a tax problem you go see an accountant, but if you’ve got a career problem who do you go and see?
‘‘A professional career practitioner. They’re the ones that can really give you the solutions that you require and they might not be as difficult as you think they are.’’
Brown says if employers want to prevent staff leaving, they must do more to engage them in the first place. Simply offering more money is not always a solution.
‘‘Often the employers of choice don’t pay the top rates,’’ she says.
Benefits such as super contributions, flexible leave and study options, workplace conditions, training and career development can all sway employees.
‘‘Then importantly there’s the relationship and the capability of supervisors and managers,’’ she says.
‘‘People will say that if they can work with a good team and a good boss that it’s worth $20 in my pay packet every week.’’
Brown says loyalty is no longer valued as much in the workplace.
‘‘People are much more inclined to spend only two or three years in a job. In fact, some employers have the attitude that if you’ve got on your resume that you’ve got more that 10 years, five years in some cases, with one organisation then something must be wrong,’’ she says.
WORK CHOICES: Put your career in the hands of a counsellor.