Career Thought Leaders: A curation hub for all things career-related. Plus the annual Career Industry Trends is a must-read for career professionals and anyone who wants to keep their finger on the pulse of what’s happening in the industry.
Ask a Manager: Real content from someone who’s been in the trenches in HR.
Introvert Dear: There’s a career section for this blog, but I don’t confine myself to that realm on this site – great ideas throughout.
Big Think: Keeping my finger on the pulse of emerging trends.
Matt Thomas’s New York Times Digest: Let’s face it. I’m too lazy to read the whole New York Times, and I really don’t need to because I get this semi-regular newsletter in my inbox that allows me to skim headlines for an eclectic mix of great articles.
Remember when app developer wasn’t a job title? It’s unlikely that any of us remember when elevator operators and milkmen had steady work, but our grandparents saw those jobs as secure.
Whether we look forward or back, there’s instability in the job market. In my outplacement work, I often heard people who were experiencing an involuntary layoff say some variation of, “I don’t care what I do next, I just want it to be insulated from market forces.” I wish I could have delivered guarantees for those folks, but the truth is, all we’re ever doing is wagering.
Instead of betting on the market, I suggest that people bet on themselves. What does it mean to bet on yourself? Three things:
Invest in your professional development
Stay connected to your existing network and intentionally grow it
Keep your finger of the pulse of market disruptions
Since professional development is so specific to each person and #networking is written about quite a bit already (including by moi), let’s hone in on the final item.
I tap into emerging trends through some key websites and podcasts that I regularly monitor. These aren’t affiliate links, and I don’t have any investments in these organizations. I simply find them useful for myself, so I’m sharing them with you.
Ozy: News site with the tagline See Beyond. Focused not just on “where the world is, but, more importantly, where the world is going.”
Big Think: News site with another great tagline: Your Daily Microdose of Genius. They claim to “share the world’s biggest ideas from the world’s greatest thinkers.” There’s also a podcast produced by these folks called Think Again.
Creative Mornings: Lectures in locations throughout the world specifically for the creative community. A bit like TED but focused on creative work. If there isn’t a group near you, sign up for the newsletter and watch some of the recorded lectures.
Springwise: Focus on disruptive innovation with a global reach.
WorkLife with Adam Grant: A production with TED focused on extraordinary workplaces and what makes them stand out. Even the commercials are insightful. Perhaps my favorite podcast of all time. Well…that sounds too inflated since I’m such a podcast junkie. I’ll give it at least a top 5 ranking.
Women Killing It: I’ll just quote from the website copy: “Career rockstars share what has worked for them, how they got where they are today, and what they wish they knew sooner.” Favorite episode = Nilofer Merchant – she’s an amazing thought leader.
Pivot: Produced by Jenny Blake who wrote a book by the same name, all about career and business trends. Her newsletter is always full of great ideas, too.
Akimbo: Produced by Seth Godin. Mostly about entrepreneurs, but also covers cultural change.
I have a section on my Google news page that I’ve customized called “jobs of the future,” and here are two hits that I’ve returned to a few times:
Prototyping Career Shifts – Pivot Planet is an organization that allows you to talk to someone in a specific field and get the real truth of what it’s like. There’s a fee for time with these folks, but it takes the awkward ask out of the equation that shuts many people down. So, if you’re curious about being a wine importer, professional speaker, shipbuilder, animation film producer, or another esoteric or mundane professional, this is fun site to explore.
Job Crafting – Hidden Brain, one of my favorite podcasts, just rebroadcast an episode on Dream Jobs, which is wonderful because I missed it when it first aired. The episode covers meaning and purpose at work, adding credence to my latest motto: seek purpose to build passion.
Finding Meaning and Purpose – The article called Want to Love Your Job? Read this Article offers more insight along the theme of meaning. Notable line: Your work may not change the world. But your approach to it makes a meaningful difference in how you and those your work with, and serve, feel.
Multipotentialites – Emilie Wapnick’s TED talk called Why Some of Us Don’t Have One True Calling isn’t new to me. Delivered in 2015, it’s becoming a classic in the career world, but I include it on this list because I’m talked to so many clients these past few months who haven’t heard it and who feel validated and affirmed by Emilie’s message.
It would be a stretch to call these other favorites career-related, but they’re just so darn good, I’m compelled to add to my list. I hope you’ll indulge me.
Hannah Gadsby’s Nanette special on Netflix – Part standup routine, part advocacy talk. It was absolutely stunning to witness how masterfully she delivered such a powerful message. She’s someone who has clearly done intense personal work, and what I really, really love about her talk is that she serves as an amazing role model for women being angry in an effective and meaningful way. Simply exquisite work.
Sarah Blondin’s guided meditation – My sis suggested I listen to this particular meditation called Loving and Listening to Yourself. 12 minutes of pure affirmation and nourishment.
Rachel Simmons’ book Enough As She Is – The modern version of Reviving Ophelia, covering social media, perfectionism, and academic pressure and how it tends to affect girls. Vital for parents of teen and college-age girls and also a great glimpse into social pressures on girls and women.
Tara Brach’s talk – I’ve been searching for a way to articulate to myself and my clients the difference between acceptance and resignation, the difference between greeting what’s here and resisting and wrestling with what’s already happened, the difference between turning toward and turning away from our experience, and Tara Brach’s talk called Saying ‘Yes” – Meeting Your Edge and Softening comes as close I’ve ever heard.
I love hearing what others are watching and listening to, so send me your suggestions.
You are legion. Each of us is many. This life that you’re living is one of many lives you will live. Now, we are not talking about reincarnation or anything with religious implications. The plain and simple truth is that you will live many different lives in this lifetime.
I often meet people when they’re paralyzed, standing at a crossroads and struggling to confine themselves to just one path. What often happens is that they end up doing nothing – they come to a screeching halt – because they don’t want to leave any part of themselves behind.
The question of how you reconcile the parts of yourself that you’ve left behind is a vital one, especially as we age. It can feel like doors are closing, and we’re losing parts of our identity that matter deeply to us. Grief and loss can figure prominently here.
So, what’s the solution? Here are some possibilities:
Recognize that as you release ideas, you gain commitment and forward momentum. If you’re always in the “pause and deliberate” phase of designing your career, you’re stagnant, and you give up ALL of the possible versions of yourself except for the aimless one.
Seek to integrate and combine. What’s at the heart of the versions of yourself that feel lost to you? For example, if you’ve always wanted to be a university professor – what part of that appeals to you? Is it being in the world of ideas around others who love to discuss them? Mentoring rising generations? Some autonomy about the projects you pursue? Identify those core ingredients and ask yourself how you can create those conditions in one of your other possible paths.
Allow yourself to grieve. You know what? I’m not going to be an Olympic athlete. That ship has sailed. Currently, I’m in my 50s, and I don’t think I’m going to be the next Dara Torres (besides, she was shockingly in her 40s at the London games, her final one). Some things really are gone. How can you honor that part of yourself and release it?
Harvest your ideas to access later. It may be that some of your parallel lives will loop back to meet you in a few years. Keep a list of your possibilities (I have mine on Evernote), so that you can revisit them periodically and decide whether their time has come. You might categorize them (for example: Moon Shots, After Kids Have Graduated, When $ Isn’t an Issue) and list details that are important for you to capture now. Some people like to use art (vision board, for example) to express themselves.
As I work with people on crafting their next career steps, we use many of these activities and paradigms, so we’ll build on these ideas even further in our work together.
I want to leave my job and start my own business, but I can’t walk away from the security of a salaried position
I have visions of making a dramatic geographic move for my career, but my partner wants to stay put (and I want to stay married)
Why can’t I enjoy my downtime and take a break from work? I crave time off, but when I get it, I’m bored and restless.
Internal conflicts are rampant in career coaching. What happens when seemingly equally compelling voices inside ourselves compete and clash? It turns into a brawl, one where we wrestle with ourselves and try to squash one. We’re looking for the stronger voice – which one will be dominant and prevail in this bout?
But do you know what happens in these knock-down-drag-outs? Someone loses. And it’s always you – an important part of you.
What if – instead of fighting – there was a reconciliation? What if BOTH parts of yourself had important insights to contribute to your next step?
Here’s what I suggest to my clients when they’re standing at a crossroads and they want to go in both directions at the same time:
Write a script: imagine a conversation – not an argument! – between the two parts of yourself. What would each part of you say, and how would the other respond if each part of you genuinely wanted to GET the other part? Journal it as a dialog. Bonus points for writing one of the parts (the one that feels like a young version of you) with your nondominant hand.
Ask yourself a peace and reconciliation question: put your mind to work creating a solution, rather than being stuck in the problem. Instead of asking, “Of these two options, which route should I take?” or “What part of myself do I have to give up here?” ask questions like, “What would it look like to have security within a startup venture?” or “What would enrich my marriage AND offer us a shared a adventure that appealed to us both?” or “What would make my downtime enriching?”
Look backward in time: How far into your past do you need to go before the warring parts of yourself merge? Who were you back then? How old were you and what were you doing? What would your younger self advise your current self?
Standing a crossroads fills us with tension. We get impatient and want to move on and get into action. Of course, we’re restless when this energy surfaces. Nothing’s wrong with you if you’re stuck, chomping at the bit to get out of the starting gate and move forward with your life. Just don’t throw one part of yourself under the bus in the name of forward progress. Tolerate your own discomfort long enough that you’re able to harvest the wisdom in all parts of yourself.
It’s a sign for me that when I begin trolling job boards looking for a full-time, salaried position, that I’m on the brink of ascending to a new level in my business. That’s convoluted, right? Yes, it is. Here’s how it unfolds for me:
Fear has many faces. It’s not just a signal of a threat to security and safety. It can also show up because of unfamiliarity and new territory. Tara Mohr talks eloquently about this distinction between different types of fear (watch her short video below). The fear that surfaces when we’re facing something new, something that we covet, something that we’re pursuing wholeheartedly – that fear can present exactly like fight-flight-freeze, threat-to-safety fear, and so, if we’re not attuned to the differences in types of fear, we react in the same way: retreat!
I’ve grown to recognize this embodying-new-territory type of fear because I reflexively get into some type of behavior that has me bolting in the opposite direction of what I want for myself. So, I’ve taken to letting myself wander through job boards and sometimes even submit applications to positions, and then, I gently remind myself that it’s okay to be scared when I’m creating exactly what I want for myself. I haven’t traveled this path before, so of course, my energy dwindles, I get uncertain, my confidence wanes. It’s almost like having my highest self hold hands with my fearful, doubting self. “It’s okay,” I tell myself.
Have you ever noticed that self-sabotage shows up for you when you’re approaching something you deeply covet? It’s okay. No need to beat up on yourself for it. We all do it.