RIDE your career
When I started working in the 80's, there was no email, no spreadsheets and no laptops. Working life was needless to say, was very different.
At that time, I was Training and Development Manager, running face to face courses for new employees, leadership training programs and customer service workshops.
The skills I needed were instructional design and facilitation. Whilst those skills are still relevant, they are now delivered through youtube, e-learning, mentoring, multiple channels and outsourced providers. If I was still operating with the same tools, mindset and paper based methodologies; I would be unemployable.
I realised early on that I needed to continually transform my career to be of value to future employers and allow myself the flexibility to make choices.
I observed that HR was a growing field; becoming more recognised and morphing from payroll functions to staff development, performance management and intelligent recruitment. An area that I was vitally interested in. More qualifications were gained in HR (completing my last exams when my first baby was 6 weeks old!).
The training skills coupled with HR qualifications/experience enabled me to do part-time and contract work as a HR lecturer and contract adult facilitator. I was choosing my own path and driving my career around children and availability - well before this was fashionable!
Over the next 20 years, this pattern continued. I saw evolving industries like global IT transformation, Change Management, Coaching, Board Management and Career Transition grow. These were all industries I wanted to be part of. They spoke to my core value of being of service to others as well as navigating organisational and personal change.
I got qualified, worked in these fields and took career risks that didn't always end well. I learnt, observed, networked, listened, made mistakes and studied. I watched people in these industries that excelled - saw what they did well and asked why.
At the essence of all of this were 4 principles that have enabled me to have a career around a family, stay current and be employable into my 50's (and beyond):
RE-ENGINEER your career every 3-5 years. Look for new growth areas; look globally for trends, talk to others that have worked overseas and nationally. Follow influential people to see what industries are emerging. Decide where you want your career to be; and manage it - no one else will.
INVEST in your career. This means at least 10% of what you earn should be invested in you, your learning, certifications, education and workshops. You own career, see it as a long term investment.
DIVERSIFY the industries, countries, people, cultures and fields you work in. Take every opportunity to do something different along the way - even if it doesn't fit your vision, it will pay dividends down the track.
My best diversify decision was when a manager asked me to lead an IT project for 6 months. After some protest, I took it on; thinking I would hate it. I left that company leading a large global IT team, managing million dollar budgets and working across 20+countries; loving every minute and broadening my career options insurmountably.
Be ENERGETIC. See your career as lots of sprints; take them on - expend energy on learning, leading and contributing with enthusiasm whilst holding true your own morals and values. This will pay off in the long term.
Enjoy your career. It's your life, your income; manage it, nurture it and invest in it.
Pam is a founding FlexCoach and has been on a 30 year journey that encompassed a constant juggle between corporate life and raising 3 children. Her background covers HR, Business, IT, Mentoring, Career coaching, Outplacement consulting, Learning and Development. She coaches people every day to help them be better at what they do, land their dream role, crystalise their goals and achieve their potential. Her passion is seeing people gain confidence to do what they were meant to do (and more!)
Pam is a member of the FlexCoach panel of career and executive coaches. You can see her profile here.