4 effective strategies for managing career disruptions

The Australian car manufacturing industry is sadly on its way out. The last of the assembly plants will close soon and many of the part suppliers have already closed their doors. At one stage, there were hundreds of these suppliers dotted around the country but, according to RACV’s Royal Auto Magazine, only 50 of these are expected to remain open past the end of this year.

These remaining companies have survived, and some are even starting to prosper because they shifted their focus to different technologies and overseas markets to find new clients.

It got me thinking about the thousands of people from this industry and others like it who are now looking for work. Can they transfer their current skills? Are they able or prepared to learn new skills?

I know each person’s situation will be different but I feel, in many cases, those who believe they can change their career path stand a very good chance of doing so - if they are willing to embrace the change.

What would you do?

Being made redundant in a fading industry is obviously not something people plan for, but it’s usually not something that comes out of the blue either. The warning signs are often there, even in the early stages, for those who pay attention.

The same can be said for those feeling stuck in their current job or industry, too; even if the industry is still going strong. The signs do start to appear. For example, not being motivated to go to work in the morning or feeling frustrated due to a lack of opportunities for advancement. When these start to be noticeable and to affect your mood and wellbeing, you have a choice. You can ignore them or you can take action.

In nature, when the environment changes, things either adapt and survive or they stagnate and eventually die. Our careers and personal goals can be viewed in a similar manner. We may have a strong vision of where we want to end up – or maybe we don’t. Either way, we need to be flexible enough to look for alternative pathways when circumstances change around us.

What can you do to not only prepare for change but initiate it yourself when you need to?

Look around you

Are there are any tasks or systems that could be done better than what you or your peers are currently doing? Can you see some potential solutions?

Could these things be tacked in a way that has never been done before? If so, and if your idea works, you could suddenly find yourself standing head and shoulders above the crowd when opportunities come looking.

What are your assets?

Analyse the knowledge and experience you already have. Where do your strengths lie? They might be in tangible skills or possibly in your ability to influence others or establish strong networks of people around you. What can you do that others can’t, or that they haven’t thought of yet? If you are not sure, ask those around you or seek the help of a career coach.

Think outside the square.

Maybe you’ve always been a maintenance worker or accountant but restructuring or redundancies mean you no longer have a secure job. Your new opportunities may lie in a completely different industry. Or maybe you can offer your services to a range of clients on a contract basis instead of working for one employer.

If you’ve been working as a marketing manager or a cleaner, could you start your own small business, for example? Or, could you use your skills as a teacher and become a corporate trainer or educational book editor?

Keep learning

Follow your interests and instincts. Develop your skills in areas you are passionate about, even if they don’t appear to offer any new career directions at first. Sometimes incredible opportunities can come out of left field and if you are prepared, you then have the choice about whether to take them or not.

These tips are relevant not only for those facing potential redundancy but also to anyone contemplating a deliberate or enforced career change; including those who can’t work in their original careers due to illness or injury. You always have the power to shift yourself onto an entirely new, amazing trajectory. Why not follow it and see where it leads?

Call to action…

The Mentor List recently interviewed Whitney Johnson, a lady who has not only switched career paths several times in unexpected ways, she has also gone on to become a world leader in the concept of personal disruption. She advocates that it is not just businesses that can become a positive disruptive force in their field, people can too. They are the people who can help us to think differently or who place themselves onto new pathways and embrace change.

Johnson is a LinkedInfluencer and a writer for and contributor to the Harvard Business Review. She has been a highly-acclaimed stock market analyst and is also the author of several renown books, including Disrupt Yourself TM.

To hear more of Johnson’s story, along with her thoughts on helping people feel more secure around change and becoming unstuck, tune in to her podcast interview. As a bonus, you’ll pick up some of her fundamental stock investment tips too!


Kick start your personal journey to success from the conversations David has with his inspirational guests on The Mentor List. www.mentorlist.com.au

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