Do you remember when you had to be at home to make a phone call, standing next to the wall to which the phone was affixed and limited by the cord? What about when you could make a call from a pay phone booth, or when long-distance calls required a calling card?
Yes, those are gone now; in fact for some of you, they’re not memories but relics on sitcom reruns. What about the person who made those home phones and pay phones? What about the person who sold long-distance calling cards? Hopefully they were able to adapt to manufacturing or selling the technology in use today. But this is just one example of why you should know your next career move…even when you’re in a “secure” field.
Before 2008, many of us held jobs that we thought would never disappear. I was a homebuilding recruiter, and who wouldn’t need homebuilders? In 2008, no one did. Whether it’s new technology (self-driving cars?), a changing economy, consumer preferences or research that points to a product category’s risks (hello, Teflon, plastic and pressure-treated lumber), the marketplace is constantly changing. Jobs and whole industries can become irrelevant.
The good news? Jobs and whole industries can be created out of the very same change.
The key is to remain viable, flexible and resilient, so that you can continue to find a place in a changing workplace. Even while you’re safely ensconced in a job with a future so bright that you gotta wear shades (apologies to Timbuk 3), you should be thinking about your next career move.
One important way to do so is to continue your education. That could mean taking part in workshops and seminars, or it could mean going back to school. Be sure you’re learning from sources with broad perspective—those too deep in their field or too narrow in scope might not represent the burgeoning industry forces.
Another way to help develop your next career move is to invest in your personal passions. What do you love to do? Is there a way to grow that energy and experience such that it could further your career in some way? With whom do you interact and exchange ideas outside of your workplace and industry? If your life is bigger than the office, you’ll be better prepared come what may.
We addressed some of the more practical tips for remaining viable in our recent blog post “Why You Should Always Be Job Hunting.” These can help you be prepared should there be a sudden change in job status.
But in the bigger picture, it’s important to simply be aware that no job is safe. The world will change in ways we can’t even fathom right now, and we have to be looking ahead while still perfecting the job we’re doing. Maintain flexibility and expand your skills and network so that you can see your next career move, however you might get the call.