Two weeks ago, I shared with you the first six of twelve recommendations on how you can bounce back after losing your job in a pandemic-plagued, depressed economy: Recollect yourself after the knockdown. Reframe your situation and embrace the opportunity. Release and let go of the baggage. Rediscover your true identity. Revalue your true worth. Recalibrate yourself and take a positive outlook while facing your present reality.
In today’s final part of this two-articles set, you can learn about the remaining six action strategies you can use to pivot your career after a job loss. And of course, my twelve action recommendations also work if you want to proactively design a second career that you want to transition gradually into in the coming years.
7. Recognize your values
“Your core values are the deeply held beliefs that authentically describe your soul,” said the American author and leadership coach John C. Maxwell. The next thing that you should do to sharpen your core identity is to spell out your core values. Your values describe your principles or standards of behavior and your view of what is essential in life. For example, my topmost values are creativity, freedom, education (learning and teaching), and achievement.
Why is it necessary to recognize your key values? These clarify how you prefer to do things and simplify decision-making. For example, when I assess an opportunity, I simply ask a few questions related to my values:
- Does the project excite me and allow me to be creative?
- Do I have the freedom to decide how to approach and execute it?
- Can I learn something from it? Or does it provide me with an opportunity to teach something worthwhile to others?
- Would a successful completion of this project feel like a worthwhile achievement and investment of my time?
If the answer to most or all of these value-aligning questions is “yes, “I will go for the opportunity. “When your values are clear to you, making decisions becomes easier,” accurately noted Walt Disney’s brother Roy.
8.Realize your passions: Do what you love doing
If you ask people about their least and most favorite day of the week, most people name Monday as their least favorite and either Friday, Saturday or Sunday as their most favorite day. What does this tell us about them? They dislike their work. They only do their job because of the money it pays.
How about you? How much do you love your job? Do you like it so much that you hardly can’t wait to get back to work each day?
Steve Jobs commented that after he got fired from Apple in 1985, “I’m convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You’ve got to find what you love.” In other words, you’ve got to find your passion.
Unfortunately, nine out of ten people settle for a job that pays the bills but doesn’t profoundly touch their heart and soul. When they started, work felt good, as there were still many things to learn, and they enjoyed the external recognition and perks that came with it. But as time passed, many people are proficient in their job but don’t feel passionate about what they do. They don’t burn for it. And while most jobs are secure in normal times, they may eventually be asked to leave when times are bad. When organizations need to downsize to survive, who are the least likely to lose their jobs? Those who are both competent and passionate about their profession.
So when you design a second career that will keep you in work until or well past your retirement date, find something that you love doing. And remember the words of Steve Jobs: “If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.”
9. Reveal your purpose
“Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart,” noted Steve Jobs. We all have to pass on one day, perhaps sooner than we think. What positive contributions will you make to humanity that go beyond satisfying the immediate needs of yourself and your close kin? Why are you here?
We’re living at a time when the world needs more people who not only work for the money but do important work that they feel someone needs to be doing. We may call these purpose-driven people real-life superheroes. Because just like superheroes, what gets them going is the intrinsic motivation to fight for a worthy cause larger than oneself.
Can you picture a new role that allows you to contribute to a worthy cause and gets you paid? What superhero purpose can you imagine committing to? If you haven’t found one, consider exploring the UN Sustainable Development Goals 2030 to discover what crucial human development cause resonates most with you. In my case, it’s the goal no. 4 (Quality Education), which connects nicely to my purpose of developing creative leaders and innovators.
10. Reassess the odds of success
You may have worked for years or even a decade or more in a specific role in a particular profession or industry (for example, you might have been a credit analyst in the banking industry). Apart from reassessing your passion, it would help if you also reassessed how well your profession and industry will go forward. Why?
In the 2020s, many well-established industries are predicted to face major disruptions and transformations due to technological shifts in the new technologies that will drive the Sixth Wave (digitalization, clean-tech, and bio- & human-tech). The current health crisis and related economic crisis will likely speed up, front-load, and exaggerate these transformational trends. Moreover, digital transformation and automation will reduce the number of white-collar jobs in well-reputed professions and industries. What does this mean if you’re hunting for a job or plan to design your new career?
You might need to move to a different industry with good growth prospects for the coming decades. So, if you worked as a financial advisor or a credit analyst in a bank who recently cut headcount, and you enjoy this kind of work (see point 8). Then, you may want to explore becoming a digital currency advisor or a data analytics manager in a fin-tech company. Of course, this may require you to take classes to acquire new know-how and develop new skills. (We all will have to invest time and money to reskill and upskill ourselves to keep up with the transformations of business we’ll see unfold in this decade).
11. Realign yourself to a suitable career ecosystem
In TIPS, Thinkergy’s personality assessment tool for the digital innovation economy, we include a section in the report called “Hot or not?” Therein, we tell you what ecosystems (business functions, industries, organizational types) are “hot fits” for your particular TIPS profile and your related cognitive style. The report also warns you of “not” ecosystems that you ought to better avoid. What’s the difference between the two? If you work in a “hot” ecosystem, work feels EEE (easy, effortless, and enjoyable), while in a “not” environment, it feels DDD (difficult, de-energizing, and drudging).
Ask yourself: How well did you fit into your old role? Did it feel EEE? If it was a “hot fit,” why did they let you go? If you think the fit was not ideal, ask yourself: What other ecosystems might be a better fit for me? (Or even better, take the TIPS online test for USD 89 to unveil your TIPS profile and find out more about your related “hot” ecosystems).
12. Rearrange the pieces until a splendid new career picture reveals itself
Once you have collected all essential mosaic pieces that you need to design your new career, lay them all out on the floor. Look at each piece individually, then step back to take in the full picture, and ask yourself a couple of questions:
“So what? So what does it all mean for me? How can I align my identity, talents, values, passions, and purpose in a new career that allows me to make meaning and make money in the next one to two decades? Should I shift to a new professional role, industry, business function, or organizational type that aligns with my unique ingenuity, or that offers better odds of success given the transformation of the economy in the coming years?”
Then, begin shifting and rearranging the mosaic pieces until suddenly, a picture of an exciting new career emerges in front of your mind’s eye. The more effort you’ve put in all preceding stages of the development process, the clearer, more energizing, and more beautiful your vision of a new career should be. And this clarity, energy, and beauty will give you the creative transformational momentum and stamina to make it happen. As Richard Buckminster Fuller noted: “When I am working on a problem, I never think about beauty but when I have finished, if the solution is not beautiful, I know it is wrong.”
Conclusion: The comeback is always greater than the setback
“Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary,” said Steve Jobs. Consider following Apple’s ingenious innovator’s advice if you have to pick yourself up from a recent job loss, or if you want to proactively prepare for a second career that keeps you happy and active well past reaching the official retirement age.
We cannot control what happens to us, but we do have control over how we respond to it. Follow the example of Thomas Edison, Walt Disney, and Steve Jobs and transform a job loss into the start of a self-determined new career in line with your true identity, values, passion, and purpose — or in other words: in line with your unique genius.
- Have you recently lost your job due to the COVID-19 crisis? Or are you concerned your job might be on the line? What if someone took you by the hand and guided you step-by-step through the 12 steps to discovering an exciting new career in harmony with your unique genius? We’ll be soon launching an online course that we will be running later in Q3.2020 that will do just that:
- In the program, we will first help people recognize their true talent with the help of TIPS.
- After that, we will guide a selected few applicants through the twelve steps to rediscover your genius (based on chosen exercises and contents from our Genius Journey method).
- Finally, we help you design a new career that is in harmony with it.
- Contact us if you would like to learn more once we release the program.
- Would you like to learn more about TIPS? Check out our TIPS website to learn more about our 21st-century personal assessment tool for business and innovation. And consider taking the TIPS online test (USD 89) to uncover your TIPS profile and preferred cognitive styles.
© Dr. Detlef Reis 2020. The article is published in the Thinkergy Blog on July 30, 2020, and will be re-published in the Bangkok Post within the coming weeks.