Most of us prepared hard for the future we expected, and yet when it
comes to our work life today things aren’t working out as we had
planned. This is true if you have been laid off; are a recent
graduate who is unemployed; a manager who feels that he is stuck in
his current position.
Growing up we were led to believe that the future was predictable
enough and if we studied hard we could obtain the work we wanted in an
environment we understood, and we would live happy and successful lives. Isn’t it?
It hasn’t exactly worked out that way (even for those of us who are happy.)
Our careers today rarely move in a straight line and on top of that
we are worrying that the line is going to be erased all together.
Why the disconnect between what we thought would happen, and what is
actually going on? We think the answer to that is pretty simple. The
way we were taught to think and act works well when the future is
predictable, but not so much in the world as it is now.
We have become so indoctrinated with this way of thinking by our
education that it is more or less
the only way we approach anything.
It’s pretty scary when you can’t plan and control your way to security, let alone the job you want.
In a world where you can no longer plan your way to success, what is
the best way to achieve lifelong security and accomplish the things you
really care about?
It’s important to know what’s valuable and important
to you. Who you really are? What matters to you? etc. The answers to these questions will point you in
Having considered that, what are your means at hand, your talents and
skills, who you know, what you don’t know. And how do you get started on
concrete actions that are consistent with these desires?
Some of those
may take the form of looking for a job, but others might simultaneously
entail starting something of your own. In either case, as you act,
different opportunities will present themselves.
So, the process from planning your future when you can’t really plan looks like this:
1. Determine your desire
2. Take a small step toward it
3. Learn from taking that step
4. Take another step
5. Learn from that one
You follow this Act, Learn, Build Repeat model until you have a job,
your own business, or have achieved your goal. It’s not career planning.
It’s acting your way into a future you want.