Han­dling sud­den ca­reer change

Keep a flex­i­ble at­ti­tude

The Coffs Coast Advocate - - CAREERS - MELANIE BURGESS

WORK is a large part of most peo­ple’s lives but it is im­por­tant not to let pro­fes­sional and per­sonal iden­ti­ties be­come one.

In an era of con­stant change, work­ers must re­main flex­i­ble or risk turn­ing their life up­side down if their ca­reer does not go to plan.

Psy­chol­o­gist Sabina Read says it is pos­si­ble to use clear goals to find the per­fect ca­reer match, but work­ers must also be pre­pared to re­assess their sit­u­a­tion as it changes.

“For those of us with a clear, pas­sion­ate, pur­pose­ful road map that hon­ours our strengths and authen­tic self, pur­su­ing a clear and con­sid­ered ca­reer path, in­dus­try or even com­pany can re­sult in a match made in heaven,” she says. “Such align­ment can con­trib­ute to higher levels of hap­pi­ness, com­pe­tence, so­cial net­works, en­gage­ment, pro­duc­tiv­ity and even re­duced stress.

“Yet it’s also im­por­tant to repeatedly eval­u­ate whether the fit we once con­sid­ered to be such a won­der­ful union con­tin­ues to be a good match.

“Our strengths, needs, val­ues and pri­or­i­ties may shift over time, leav­ing us with re­duced job sat­is­fac­tion, plea­sure, en­gage­ment and mean­ing – or per­haps even the ire of our loved ones.”

She rec­om­mends hav­ing flex­i­bil­ity and an open mind.

“Wear­ing blink­ers can pre­vent us from mas­sag­ing and re­fin­ing our goals and leave us wed­ded to an ideal rather than a more re­al­is­tic pair­ing be­tween who we are and what we do,” she says.

Work­ers must also be pre­pared for curve balls such as re­dun­dan­cies, life changes or roles that do not live up to ex­pec­ta­tion.

For­mer Triple J ra­dio host Kyran Wheat­ley learnt this the hard way when his dream job be­came avail­able but he was over­looked for the role.

After seven years of work­ing to­ward the break­fast shift, he was forced to re­assess not only his ca­reer but his iden­tity.

“I had at­tached my­self to a dream,” he says.

“It had be­come my iden­tity so then when some­body else came along and ripped that away, they tore out a part of my soul and I wasn’t ex­pect­ing it.

“It was crip­pling – I am not kid­ding around, I was com­pletely lost.”

Still, Mr Wheat­ley be­lieves it is good to have a ca­reer plan.

“My mis­take was to chip that plan into stone in­stead of leav­ing it in pen­cil,” he says.

“We should open our­selves up to any­thing and ev­ery­thing.

“I was think­ing ‘I will get a week­end show on Triple J and that will lead me to drive time or break­fast on Triple J and that will put me in a po­si­tion where I can pitch TV shows’.

“I was think­ing five jobs down the line when re­ally I should have been think­ing about what I want to do day-today.”

Mr Wheat­ley spent six months “griev­ing” his dream job then rein­vented his ca­reer, now freelancing in pod­cast­ing, com­edy and the arts.

He dis­cusses this process in depth with Ms Read and other ex­perts in the pod­cast SEEK

Al­ter­nate Route, which turns his les­sons into ad­vice for other ca­reer chang­ers. Down­load Seek Al­ter­nate Route on iTunes or via a pod­cast app.


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