Tag: career change


What Happens When a Pandemic Disrupts Your Career?

A couple of years ago, I wrote a post about the importance of having a back-up plan if something disrupts your career. I shared about a past client of mine who was a recording artist with a unique story. His former career as a high school social studies teacher was disrupted by stardom in the music industry.

I’ve been thinking a lot about him lately, especially how the pandemic has disrupted his and other performing artists’ careers. But even if he can’t work right now due to COVID restrictions on live performances, I know he’ll be okay. Why? Because he had a plan B, which most recording artists don’t have.

What about you? Do you have a plan B if some event disrupts your current career? It’s a question you need to consider. As a result, I’m re-sharing my post from a couple of years ago to help you start thinking about a plan B (or C, or D) for your career.

My client’s story (originally published August 29, 2018)

It was 2011 and I was waiting for my new client in his publicist’s conference room. We were beginning the process of preparing him for his upcoming radio interviews.

In our first session he told me his life story, how he got to where he was, and what his future looked like. He was different from most of the other recording artists I’d worked with. His values and priorities were on a whole other level.

What was typical

He told me about how he grew up poor with humble beginnings, and how he’d always been passionate about music, with goals to pursue it as a career. Not an uncommon story among most musicians who eventually make their way to Nashville.

He was the first person in his family to finish not just college, but also high school. This inspired him to become a high school social studies teacher, something else he was very passionate about.

After college, he pursued teaching to support his music career goals. He did both until he couldn’t any longer.

His music caught on like wildfire. In fact, he was getting so many bookings and selling out so many venues, his music career completely disrupted his teaching career. He had to leave his students to fulfill his new obligations to his fans.

Again, this is not an unusual story or scenario for most recording artists as they begin their careers. Most start off doing something else to make a living until they’re able to afford to pursue music full-time.

What was different

But here’s where it gets different with this particular artist:  he said to me,

“When this whole music thing dries up, which it probably will eventually, my plan is to go back to teaching social studies.”

I had never heard a recording artist talk like this. Most get so caught up in their rise to fame and fortune they think it will never come to an end. They don’t think long-term.

In fact, most of them believe, and are also told by numerous music industry executives, if you truly want to make it in the music business you can’t have a Plan B.

The music executives’ theory is, if you have a Plan B, you’ll never be fully motivated to pursue the Plan A of a music career. They believe you’ll give up too soon and default to your Plan B before Plan A gets off the ground.

This client was the only artist I knew who didn’t fall for this mindset. He strongly disagreed and felt it was totally irresponsible not to have a Plan B. Like everything else, he knew Plan A will eventually come to an end.

He also told me something else I’ll never forget. In describing a recently sold-out show, one where Brantley Gilbert and the Zac Brown Band were opening for him, he said to me,

“To this day, there’s not been one stage I’ve walked onto that didn’t beat the feeling I got the first day I walked into a classroom.”

Talk about a mic drop!

Whether he realizes it or not, this musician is still teaching others in his role as an artist. There are so many lessons from this interaction and his statements I almost don’t know where to begin.

But let’s try to unpack as much as we can here.

1. It can’t be all about the money

It’s obvious he wasn’t doing any of this for the money. Everyone knows there’s very little money in education. And for someone willing to go back to education after a more lucrative career in music shows money isn’t a top priority.

As a career coach specializing in helping people pursue their passions, I can tell you if you’re pursuing something only for money with no passion behind it, it’s likely to fail. All the experts will tell you this. This includes business experts, successful entrepreneurs, other career coaches, and the ones who learned this lesson the hard way.

And not only is it likely to fail, you’re also likely to be miserable. If you’re not passionate about what you do and you find no meaning in it besides earning a paycheck, you’re likely to dread going to work everyday. This will wear on you over time.

2. You have to think long-term

Nothing lasts forever. You could be laid off tomorrow from your current job. Your business idea could take off like a rocket and then just as quickly crash and burn. My former client’s bookings could easily dry up since music fans’ tastes are fickle.

So then what?

While it’s important to learn to live in the moment, there needs to be a balance between living in the moment and considering the future.

One of the things I work with my coaching clients on is establishing long-term goals and helping them figure out how their passions can evolve with those goals.

Sometimes this requires re-evaluating and altering their short-term goals. And sometimes it may require them to alter their long-term goals.

3. It’s not a bad idea to have a back-up plan

As a result, you may need a Plan B to your Plan A, or even a Plan C to your Plan B.

These plans don’t have to be completely different from each other like they were for my former client. They could be something in the same industry but in a different role or function. Or something in the same role but in a different industry.

Back-up plans can be a great solution when you’re feeling stuck in your current career situation. I’ve helped many clients brainstorm and test potential back-up plans which eventually got them unstuck.

Do you see any other lessons here I missed? (If so, please comment below!)

What if something disrupts your career?

My former client had two very different careers he was equally passionate about. One disrupted the other much more quickly than he expected. And it could happen again some day. This happens to almost all of us, including myself.

What will you do if something disrupts your career? What will happen if you don’t have a Plan B to fall back on?

If you don’t have an answer to these questions, it may be time to consider the lessons outlined above, or even some career coaching for yourself. 

To find out if career coaching is your next best step, click here and complete the paNASH intake form. Completing the form does not obligate you in any way.

Resources for when something disrupts your career

How to Plot Your Escape From the Golden Handcuffs

So you’re thankful to still have a job in these current economic times, but you’re miserable in it. You’d love to escape the golden handcuffs to start your own thing.

Now could be a good time to start plotting your escape so your business idea can be ready when the economy opens back up.

But before you do, you need to evaluate your personal goals. And even if you’re not looking to start your own business, but instead want to change jobs or careers, I recommend you also evaluate your personal goals first.

If you don’t take into account your goals in other areas of your life before focusing on your new career goal, you could find yourself more miserable than you currently are.

This goal review should include a detailed plan outlining the kind of life you want for you and your family. Here’s how to start.

Evaluate your goals

1. Write down your goals

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. It’s statistically proven you’re 50% more likely to achieve your goals when you write them down.

When plotting your golden handcuff escape, you want to write down more than just your career or financial goals.  You also want to write down your goals for all aspects of your life. This includes your spiritual, family, health, social, and personal development goals. Focusing only on career or financial goals can lead to burnout real fast!

For help with all types of goals, download my 8-Step Goal-Achievement Plan. It’s free when you choose any of my subscription options.

2. Look for complementary goals

Once you’ve written down your goals, look for areas where the achievement of one goal will result in the achievement of another goal.

For example, you may have a goal to become healthier by exercising more, while your new business venture will require some regular physical work.

3. Pay attention to competing goals

Don’t ignore where you may have competing goals.

For instance, you may want to have more time with your family, but your career goal will require a lot of business travel.

I’m currently working with a client who, when we first began working together, had a short-term goal of starting her own consulting business. But, after working with her on her goals, she realized this goal was in competition with her new family dynamic. She recently gained custody of her 13-year-old nephew and wants to provide a solid, stable home for him for the next five years.

Her goal for her consulting business hasn’t been dashed. It’s just been changed to a long-term goal. Her new short-term goal is to find a stable job that will put her in front of future clients and strategic partners for her long-term goal.

Author Pamela Slim says in her book, Escape From Cubicle Nation:

“Over time, as your life changes, you can adjust the plan. The important thing is to think about your ideal life before you make any serious decisions.”

4. Include your family’s input

For this reason, you’ll need to include your family in your goal-setting and goal review process. Their input is essential because your choices will significantly impact them as well.

Consideration needs to be made not only for your spouse, but also for your children and/or aging parents under your care. Each member of the family should weigh in on what an ideal life would look like.

You won’t all agree on everything, but there should be agreement on some major areas. Creating a family mission statement (or personal mission statement if you’re single) can help you in making big decisions and coming to agreement in those decisions.

Once you have a personal or family mission statement, you can use it to weigh important decisions. You do this by observing which decisions best support your mission statement.

My Personal Branding program works in conjunction with the 8-Step Goal-Achievement Plan, and can be adapted to families as well. You can also use it to help you flesh out your business idea or next career move.

5. Find room for your life

You’re original reason for trying to escape the golden handcuffs, likely had something to do with wanting more work-life balance.

Use your evaluation of your personal goals to find creative ways of making room for the life part of your work-life balance goals. Do this before you get so wrapped up in your new career goal you have no time for life. You’ll be glad you did.

Things that will thwart your escape from the golden handcuffs

1. Not trusting the process

Some clients who come to me wanting to break out of their current job to start their own thing, often want to jump ahead of the process listed above. This is usually because they’ve waited so long to start making such plans, either because of fear or lack of confidence. Which leads to a desperation to jump into something new without doing the necessary research and prep work. As a career adviser, I have to say this is a dangerous reason to start something new.

If you’ve overstayed in your current job and you’re now anxious to get out, resist the temptation to:

  • Skip the goal evaluation process all together.
  • Get impatient with the process and quit before you’ve completed it.
  • Forgo your due diligence and research
  • Become inflexible about your business idea.

While passion is important, your business idea should also be something people need and can benefit from. This is why the Personal Branding program includes the process of figuring out if there’s a market for your idea, who your market is, and how you help solve your market’s need or problem.

2. Unwillingness to make necessary financial sacrifices

Other clients who come to me wanting to leave their current job for something new, such as starting their own business, will often say they’re ready to make the transition. However, they attach a condition to it. They say they must immediately earn the same amount of money they’ve been making, or more. This is an unrealistic expectation.

Therefore, it’s important to do the goal evaluation first and to include your family in the process, as suggested above. You must look at your finances to make sure you can afford to start something new. But, you need to be realistic about this as well.

If you say you need to earn the same amount because you’re putting your children through college or have some large medical bills, that’s one thing. But if it’s because you think you can’t live without your current lifestyle of a fancy car or the latest big screen TV, that’s another thing. Working for such things is what’s keeping you in your golden handcuffs, and keeping you from a more fulfilled life.

Speaking from personal experience, when I left my job to start my own business, I had to cut out A LOT of things I thought I couldn’t live without. This included both big things and little things. And guess what? Not only do I not miss those things, I feel freer without them.

My life has become more simplified, allowing me time for more important things in life. Plus, making short-term financial sacrifices has led to a more secure financial future. I’ve been able to pay off my debt and put myself on a more solid financial footing.

Serving others

Don’t get so enamored with financial success and making more money that you can’t see a new career move as a means to a great life. Sometimes you have to sacrifice more in the short-run to have more in the long-run. But if your goal is only to serve your bank account, you won’t find fulfillment in your current job, your next job, or your own business.

Although no one starts a company or changes careers without the goal of making money, the ultimate goal should always be, first and foremost, to serve others. As you do, you’ll find the fulfillment you’re seeking, even if you’re making less or more than you currently are.

I love serving my clients and people like you who want to have more balance in their lives and career. This includes not only providing you one-on-one career coaching services, but also online resources available on-demand.

Resources to help you escape the golden handcuffs

You can start with the 8-Step Goal-Achievement Plan, free with any paNASH subscription option. In addition, you can purchase the Personal Branding book for as little as $9.99. Or, you can get it free with your purchase of the Personal Branding on-demand course.

In addition, I’ve listed below some books and classes helpful in escaping the golden handcuffs and starting your own thing.

  • Book – Escape From Cubicle Nation: From Corporate Prisoner to Thriving Entrepreneur, by Pamela Slim
  • Book – Will It Fly? How to Test Your Next Business Idea So You Don’t Waste Your Time or Money, by Pat Flynn
  • Nashville Community Education Commission virtual class: Start Your Own Business
  • Nashville Community Education Commission virtual class: How to Write a Business Plan

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Sunday Inspiration: It’s Time to Change Direction

Welcome to “Sunday Inspiration,” a bi-weekly devotional for those seeking spiritual encouragement in the pursuit of their passions. Each post comes from an outside resource (as referenced). I hope these posts will inspire and motivate you in your life and career in addition to our weekly original blog posts. Enjoy!

“To win…you must deny yourselves.” 1Co 9:25 TLB

Responsibility requires us to make a living and support our family. But deep down, do you feel you’ve been “called” to do something different?

It was when Jesus told His disciples to leave the security of the shore and launch out into the deep, that they landed their greatest catch of fish.

Here’s a modern-day story to encourage you: Jerry Richardson faced an important decision in 1961. In those days he played football for the Baltimore Colts, a job that was considered glamorous and secure. But when he was turned down for the raise he requested, he felt it was time to take a risk and do what he’d always wanted to do—start his own business.

He and his family moved back to South Carolina, where an old college buddy invited him to buy into a hamburger stand. Richardson took the plunge and bought Hardee’s first franchise. He went from catching footballs to flipping hamburgers twelve hours a day. He scrubbed stoves and mopped floors. His wages? Only $417 a month.

But tired and frustrated as he was, he refused to give up. He employed the same discipline he’d used on the football field to focus on making his restaurant more efficient, his employees the most friendly in town, and his prices affordable. Before long his business boomed. Eventually he went on to head up one of the largest food service companies in the United States, with $3.7 billion a year in sales.

Oh, and one more thing. He also became an owner in the NFL and established the Carolina Panthers franchise, which he owned for twenty-three years.

Source: https://jentezenfranklin.org/daily-devotions/its-time-to-change-direction

How to Re-Direct Your Career in a Time of Uncertainty

My older brother is a unicorn. He’s been with the same company his entire career, almost as many years as I’ve been alive. This is extremely rare these days. Most people change companies (or even careers) seven to ten times in their lives.

However, in all his years as a hard-working and successful employee of a strong company, my brother has faced the threat of the organization’s frequent mass layoffs.

Each time he faced such job uncertainty, it would send him into such deep anxiety he would get physically ill. Add to this the daily stress of his job, plus his lack of passion for it, and you get misery and depression.

So why did he stay all these years? Because on paper, it’s a “good” job. But he also stayed because of:

  • A false sense of security.
  • Self-imposed restrictions.
  • Fear of instability.
  • Discomfort with change.

Does any of this sound familiar to you? Even if career change isn’t new to you, you may be experiencing some of the same negative issues due to the uncertainty of our current job market.

But this is one of the best times to take your uncertainty and nervous energy, and use it in a positive way to re-direct your career. Let’s look at how to do this.

Re-directing your fears and uncertainty

My brother has stayed in his current job all these years because he assumes it’s secure. Even though he’s seen numerous layoffs at his company. He recognizes he’s been lucky to escape the layoffs. And each time he has, he thinks to himself, “since I didn’t get laid off, my job is secure for now.” Well, maybe it is, until it isn’t.

If we’ve learned anything from the economic impact of COVID-19, it’s nothing is certain. And, there’s no such thing as job security. But this has always been the case. Yet we tend to fool ourselves into thinking if we have a steady paycheck and benefits, we’re secure. This in turn leads to a place that’s comfortable yet complacent at best.

Instead of fooling yourself there’s such a thing as a secure job, or freaking out because there isn’t, focus on exploring your potential options to diversify your skills and your income. This could include developing multiple streams of revenue, changing industries, or developing a new skill. While this may feel uncomfortable, think of it as a way of saving for a rainy day.

If you’re currently furloughed or laid off, this is more important than ever. But even if you still have your job, you need to spend time taking stock of your interests, passions, skills, strengths, and experience. Look to see what problem(s) they help solve, and for whom.

This process helps you identify which of your skills are in demand and which market will pay money for them. It opens your eyes to opportunities you may have never previously considered, such as a different job, or working for yourself. And it’s a process I walk you through step-by-step in my on-demand career success videos.

Watch your uncertainty turn into confidence

Once you’ve completed the process of taking stock of your unique skillset and value you bring to the table, you’ll notice an increase in your confidence. A boost in confidence may be what you need right now, especially if you’ve lost your job.

Then, once you experience renewed confidence, you’ll more likely have the gumption to apply for a job doing something new or different, or to start your own thing. Once you’re mentally ready for this, it’s time to take what you’ve discovered about your unique skillset and market it.

This includes putting together a resume, elevator pitch, and interview presentation that stands out from your competition’s cookie-cutter job search efforts. paNASH’s on-demand career success videos teach you all the steps to market your unique assets, so you won’t blend in with all the other job candidates.

People are drawn to confidence and competence. Your renewed confidence, along with an attention-grabbing marketing plan of your skills, is what will help you re-direct your career.

Don’t live a life of regret

My brother will be retiring next year. That is, if he doesn’t face another potential layoff before then. He’ll get a pension for all his years there. But he won’t ever get back the years he spent doing work that made him depressed instead of fulfilled.

In fact, a few years ago when he was visiting me, he admitted how he wished he’d had the gumption and the courage to leave his job and start his own thing like I had. He regretted never trying something different. It broke my heart to see him look back over his “good-on-paper” job and have nothing but regrets.

The good news is, it’s not too late for him to do something more fulfilling, if he wants to, after he retires next year. And it’s not too late for you either, no matter where you are in your career. You always have the opportunity to re-direct your career, both in good times and in times of uncertainty.

You can take your job security into your own hands. And you can start now!

How to get started

My on-demand career success video courses have always been an affordable and effective way to prepare you for any of the following scenarios:

  • Discovering what’s next for your career.
  • Making a career change.
  • Finding a new job.
  • Improving your resume
  • Preparing for job interviews.
  • and much more!

And best of all, they’re available to you on-demand anytime, allowing you to work at your own pace.

There are other online career and job search programs that make you wait every week for the next course to air, further delaying your job search.

Why spend two months completing an 8-week course when you can complete 8 courses in the time frame you prefer, and therefore find your next job sooner?

The paNASH on-demand bundle includes:

  • 8 courses with 23 episodes, both on finding your purpose and practical ways to stand out in the job search
  • 16 instructional handouts, résumé samples and templates
  • 5 e-books
  • 1 résumé critique

And this summer, you’ll receive access to live group coaching sessions to get your specific questions answered (available for a limited time).

Click here to get started right now.

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How to Know If It’s Time for a Career Change

It felt so good this past Saturday to eat in a restaurant again after two months of quarantine. To sit down at a table, face-to-face with a friend not contained inside a square on my computer screen. To have someone else cook for me, wait on me, and clean up after me. I made sure to leave a generous tip for the waitstaff who’ve gone two months with no pay.

The restaurant was only at 50% capacity, so it wasn’t a full move back to the old normal. But it was a nice change from the new normal of shelter-at-home life.

However, in experiencing a return of some freedom, I still sensed some fear and hesitation in the air. Any kind of change can cause feelings of fear and hesitation. This is true for career change.

But change can also be good, even in the most uncertain of times. This is also true for career change. I know this from personal experience when I left my full-time job with benefits to start my own business in 2008, right around the time of a recession.

Some people may think this is not the time to make a career change. They assume if they still have a job in the midst of everything happening, they should hold onto it. This may be true.

Or it may not. Instead it may actually be the best time to consider a career change. This could include changing jobs within your industry, changing industries all together, or starting your own thing. Let’s explore which is true for you.

Is it a good time for a career change for you?

A career change within your industry

Are you currently in an industry that’s booming due to the current state of the world? For instance, are you currently in healthcare? Or are you in an industry that manufactures, markets, or sells high-demand products like cleaning agents? In other words, does your industry meet a need now, and will it likely continue to meet a need once things settle down?

If this is the case, you probably want to stay within your industry but do something different. This could mean making a lateral move to a different department, or advancing to a higher level in your current area. It could mean shifting from one function to another, like moving from HR to management, sales to market research, or vice versa.

Make a list of the results you’ve accomplished in your current role for the company. Use this as leverage to help you advance, or to show how your skills can bring new perspective to another area of the company. Don’t be afraid to have a conversation with your supervisor and with other department heads about your desire to continue contributing to the company in other ways.

A career change to another industry

Perhaps you’re in an industry that’s struggling right now. But you have the transferable skills to change to an industry in need of more employees due to the current crisis. For instance, you may currently be in HR in the travel and hospitality industry. But, your skills may be more needed in the HR department of a grocery store chain.

Start doing as much research as you can about the industries you’re interested in. Make a list of your transferable skills and add them to your resume and LinkedIn profile. Start connecting with people in those industries via LinkedIn, email, and phone.

Starting your own thing

Perhaps you’ve been thinking for a while about starting your own thing. Could now be the time to do so? Maybe, especially if you’ve been laid off due to COVID and can’t seem to find another job working for someone else. Or you may have some extra time on your hands because you’re currently working from home.

Spend your extra time writing down your skills, along with some current needs you’re noticing. Look to see how your skills match up with the needs. Then brainstorm some ways you can deliver a solution to those needs. You may also want to use your time to read the book, Will It Fly? How to Test Your Next Business Idea So You Don’t Waste Your Time or Money, by Pat Flynn.

Conclusion

Don’t let the current market make you fearful or hesitant when considering a career change. And don’t let bad news or ominous predictions keep you stuck where you are. Instead, pay attention to the needs around you. Then, ask yourself how and where your skills and talents fulfill those needs.

This process may not be easy to do on your own, but paNASH can help! Get started by completing the paNASH intake form to schedule a complimentary initial consultation.

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