Career Planning for 2010: The Fear Factor

We all hear that career planning is central to professional satisfaction and success. But how many of us truly plan our next career move versus take the next job we can find because of how dissatisfied we are in our current position?  As we continue trying to emerge from the global great recession, lunch dates and happy hours with friends and colleagues are filled with chats about workplace frustration: ridiculously small paycheck, meaningless job, boss that micromanages your projects, co-workers that don’t seem to know anything. So why don’t you make a move?

Both Po Bronson in ‘What should I do with my life’ and Mark Albion in ‘More than money’ showed that professionals only make career moves when their current pain is bigger than their fears:

Pain > Fears ==> Career Move

Both Mr. Bronson and Dr. Albion have established the validity of this equation through interviews with hundred of professionals in transition.

My goal for this week is to provide you with information and tools to re-assess your current job situation, and articulate some of the fears that might prevent you from emerging as a socio-eco innovator (SEI). By lowering these fears, you might realize that making a move might actually have more benefits (and might be less risky) than you previously anticipated. Understanding what you need and want at work is the best way to articulate your own definition of career success and to take steps towards what career success means to you!

Fear #1: There are no jobs!

Although the job market has been dreadful for the last 2 years, remember that professionals get hired everyday, and that many of the new jobs will be optimal SEI jobs:

Renewable Energy Jobs – $61.3 billion of The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act are being use towards creating jobs in alternative energy and energy efficiency. Keeping yourself informed about alternative energy through our Justmeans Energy and Emission Blog as well as our Climate Change Blog will enable you to learn about methodology and current trends that will give you an edge on that job market. If you live in Asia, read the 3/18/2010 article from the NYTimes ‘China Drawing High-Tech Research From U.S.’ to learn more about renewable energy firms in Asia.

Sustainable Food Jobs – An increasing number of consumers are buying food that is grown locally and with minimal to no use of genetic manipulations or harmful chemicals. Responses to the increased demand have been strong in Belgium and local growers in British Columbia (Canada). Other responses to these trends combine farming with economic development (see the case of Detroit in the US). If you think this means that you will need to become a cherry picker, think again: the range of jobs in sustainable foods will include engineering and operations opportunities, as well as marketing, finance, information technology and advocacy jobs. Here again, Justmeans gives you an edge to compete for these jobs by providing you with trends and data on our Responsible Food Blog.

Healthcare Jobs – Beyond direct service jobs such as doctors, nurses, and medical technicians, numerous jobs in finance, marketing, strategic planning and information technology will become available as the proportion of older populations continues to increase worldwide. The UN “World Population Ageing: 1950-2050” report indicates that the proportion of adults at least 60 years old is projected to reach 21% by 2050. That means that by 2050 the number of adults over the age of 60 will exceed the number of children under 15 for the first time in history. As the ageing population grows, so will the need for low-cost preventive care, diagnostic tools, and treatment options! Leverage our Health Blog to learn more about trends and opportunities that will emerge in the healthcare field worldwide.  Of course, the US Health Care Reform that was passed yesterday will also have an impact on new healthcare jobs in the US.

You can also lower your fears by learning more about jobs through job postings! As mentioned in my previous post on job postings, knowing what you bring to the table and how that matches the ideal candidate employers are looking for can help you realize that you have more skills, knowledge, and personal traits than you thought! Start by exploring job postings available on our job board.

In future posts, we will focus on other fears including:

Fear #2: How am I going to meet my financial obligations?

Fear #3: I have done this for so long, who will hire me for a different type of career?

Fear #4: What will my family/spouse/friends/mentors say?

As always, my goal is simple: Help you amplify your impact and accelerate your learning as you build your career as a socio-eco innovator who does Business - Better. I look forward to receiving your career planning questions and to addressing them in future posts!

Photo Credit: MLM