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

The Courier-Mail - Career One - - Front Page -

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.

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