In the last blog we explored how to reinvent your corporate career. We briefly looked at the three skills (critical thinking, effective communication, and valuing people) and the two mindsets (willing to be a continuous learner and willing to work hard) necessary for anyone to reinvent himself/herself and find career success and satisfaction.
Let’s now turn our attention to the “why” part of the equation. Why must someone go through the sometimes challenging but always rewarding process of self-change and update? I believe there are three reasons.
One, life circumstances force change. Perhaps one spouse gets transferred to another state or country forcing the other spouse to build new skills in order to find employment. Or maybe you move to another city in order to care for ageing parents and you can’t find a job similar to your current gig so you’re forced to update your skills and abilities. “Doing life” sometimes requires new employment and thus a new you.”
The second motivation for self-reinvention is our VUCA world. Originally a military term to describe the geopolitical realm, VUCA is now used to define the current business environment. It stands for Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, and Ambiguous and certainly describes today’s business world. As opposed to life reasons that are sometimes choices, VUCA business forces of technology, global competition, politics, regulation, or multi-generational workforce may push reinvention upon you. Maybe you’re caught in a layoff as your company cuts costs. Or maybe your company moves to another state or is purchased by a competitor. Regardless, you find yourself unemployed and in need of reinvention.
The third driver of self-reinvention? Pride. As in, “I’m not proud of the company I work for.” I started thinking about this idea of company pride when I read a business article in which the author wrote, “I was proud of being an IBMer.” That sentence made me think, “When have I been proud of my work situation?”
While I can’t say I’ve been proud of every employer, I’m fortunate that I’ve felt pride for much of my professional career. Early in my business life, I spent almost 10 years selling advertising for Computerworld and International Data Group. CW management cared about all of its employees, rewarding and treating us well. And I labored alongside a fantastic group of people: Fred Lo, John, Brenda, Dave, Billy, Sue, Carolyn, and others. We worked hard as a business family and I was proud to be part of the team.
I was also proud of the work I did as headmaster of a small school in Bulgaria. Building into young people was rewarding work. When I returned to the U.S., I continued that work by starting NexGen Leadership, a nonprofit dedicated to teaching life skills and leadership to high school and college students. Here again, I felt pride for the actual work I performed.
Are you proud of your organization? Do you take pride in your company’s purpose? Are you proud of the team you work with or proud of the work you do? If the answer is yes, congratulations! If, however, you answer no to these questions, it may be time to reinvent yourself.
So whatever the reason – life situation, VUCA business influences, or lack of company pride – you may find yourself looking for greener work pastures requiring new skills and abilities. In other words requiring a new you!
Darren K. Ford
I've enjoyed a great career. Worked in many different industries with great coworkers and customers. I talk to a lot of people while drinking a lot of coffee. I read constantly. From all of this, I have much to say.