Is this the “Control, Alt, Delete” Moment in your Career?

Those of you who follow my posts know that the first half of this year has been humbling relative to those who have been riffed, downsized, or have simply made the decision that where they were is not where they want to be. Folks are waking up to their new reality: could this be the control, alt, delete moment in my career? Do I need to totally and truly re-invent myself to become more relevant and marketable?

Well, there have been thousands – yes, literally thousands – of books addressing that very question. In fact, there is a book by the very title: “Control, Alt, Delete” that argues the criticality of digitizing not only what your business does, but also how you position and sell yourself digitally. The author of this book provides a nice road map for outlining the importance of social media in our world today; yet, he does not focus on the ‘ah-ha’s’ for those individuals who find themselves not where they thought they would be.

My second book, coming out later this fall, will in fact discuss this mid-life (or college graduate!!) epiphany in detail; however, for today’s post, I want to conjure up discussion about how we truly think about work in today’s arena.

Technology, telecommuting, and talent-shifts are completely changing the way we think about work and therefore, what is ultimately attractive and in demand in today’s workplace. Let’s come to strong grips with this folks: this is not work as we defined it 20 years ago, 10 years ago, or even 1 year go! A few thoughts – which should not come as much of a surprise – to consider as you enter into the second half of the year…and perhaps to some, the second half of your life.

  • Corporate stability is a myth. As much as we would love to hover in the mother ship, with the health benefits, matching 401k’s, and executive perks, one harsh fact remains: we are only as safe as the company for which we work. AND, our professional future is 100% dependent on the company’s growth trajectory. There is a fabulous book entitled “Rebooting Work”, which re-frames the way we think about work AND where we work. The battleships of corporate America are sinking at an alarming rate. Harsh – yet true – and if you don’t believe me, just look around at giants who are falling from grace due to missteps in this highly competitive market:  JCPenney, Sprint-Nextel, and Barnes & Noble – to name only 3 on Huffington’s list of 9! There is no sure thing anywhere. So what do we do about that? Well…net:
  • We own it. At the end of the day, our corporate employers owe us nothing. If we put all our eggs in one basket, when that basket does not bring us to the Promised Land, then we can blame no one but ourselves. We must keep our network outside the company JUST AS FRESH as the one inside our company. We are insular at our own peril. I have written several blogs on how to stay relevant and top of mind in today’s world – whether you are a corporate executive, individual contributor, or fledgling entrepreneur. You can go to my blog site to find many blogs which cover brand, the ‘x-factor’ in business, and other topics which can help you stand out in a crowded field. Regardless, we are ultimately responsible for our careers…how we bend, sway, respond, and rebound will dictate our end game.
  • Unhappy? Well, you have come to a fork in the road. I have a few clients who are simply miserable in their jobs. There is no sugar coating it. They feel under appreciated, de-valued, or they simply don’t feel they are getting what they deserve in pay, title, recognition, or progression. Well, welcome to the world of “life is not always fair.” The choice is this: ask yourself, “what makes me so desirable…I mean, would I hire me?” and “what is it that everybody else is doing that I am not doing?” Whew…the answers to those two questions, though possibly painful to answer, will steer you in the right direction. AND if at that point you have the clear ‘ah-ha’ that says, “what am I still doing here?! I don’t fit anymore. I have no future here!!’ then TAKE THE REINS.

As Pollyanna as this may sound, there is an entire world of opportunity out there. Sure – truly being the master of your own destiny is tougher than one thinks. Yet, remember, you are the master of your own destiny within or outside a company. If the decision is made to move forward, you will no longer be on the corporate train. Yet, how liberating to know that you have an open field in which to play.

From my perspective, we cannot only think about our jobs, our work, our careers, and even our lives as only where we are right now…we need to change the frame to where we want to be, how we want to contribute. Being present in the moment, as I wrote about in my first book, means embracing each and every minute and experience in its full potency. AND it also means we listen to those inner voices which are whispering in our ears...then we must heed the message.