This year has been one of immense challenge and uncertainty. The COVID-19 pandemic continues to challenge the world, our communities and our individual abilities to not only cope but make sense of how we move forward during this time. From deciding how to spend the weekend to clarifying your next career step – planning for the future is more complicated than ever before.

In Australia, we are experiencing growth and positive change as demonstrated by the release of the October employment data just two weeks ago.  The unemployment rate of 7% is much lower than expected by officials and economists.  Our participation rate increased to 65.8%. and employment increased to 12,773,900.  Our employment to population ratio increased to 61.2%, and the underemployment rate decreased to 10.4% with monthly hours worked increasing by 21 million hours.

This is good news for Australia and Australians. 

Whether this year has brought unexpected career change, redundancy ­or it has caused you to question your current path, now is the time to take charge of your future, your career and thrive.

The following steps are designed to help you not only manage career change but intentionally take control of your future:

Start with your mindset

When looking at your career, it’s easy to fall victim to anxiety and worry feeling like you’re not doing enough or taking enough proactive steps to prepare and achieve the success you seek. While worrying in this way may make you feel like you have some control over uncertain circumstances, the only thing it will actually do is take away your precious energy and any enjoyment of the present moment. Whatever worries seem to constantly occupy your headspace, it’s important to refocus your mind on taking action over aspects that are within your control, and let go of the factors that are not.

One thing that this year has taught me, is that all of us, as individuals have the capacity and capability to make change and make a difference.  The resilience of people and their ability to adapt and be flexible has been inspiring.  Look around you for inspiration and you will most certainly find it.

Evaluate your current situation

Once you’ve taken a deep breath (or five) to refocus your mindset, grab a piece of blank paper so you can unpack what’s not working for you and importantly, what is working for you, in your current job or career. Start by creating four columns and writing down everything that applies under each of the headings listed below. Tip: Don’t overthink it – this is meant to be a brain dump so write it down as it comes to you and in your own voice.

  1. What I do/did each day? What are tasks that you do and what are their impact?
  2. What I am trained for?  It is so important when answering this question, to identify the transit ability of your training.
  3. List your skills, strengths, education, natural talents and experiences.
  4. My Aspirations – short and long term.  Ask yourself, what does success look like for me today, tomorrow, in three months.  This simple exercise will help you to identify the tactics you need to deploy to achieve your goals.

Reflect on what you want to do to earn your living…

We all have a unique combination of skills, experiences, natural talents, education and potential that make up your value to business.  The trick is how do we monetise our value. 

Try not to think about titles when starting this exercise.  In today’s rapidly shifting work environment, in most cases, jobs are far less about the seemingly limited title and more about the holistic day-to-day experience and outcomes driven by a position. Job titles are often an incomplete measures of ‘success’, so we encourage you to think about the tasks you want to do day to day, how your job integrates with your lifestyle and values, your purpose and the impact you want to have on the world.

It’s also important to note that every job and career path can have downsides. Even in an employment situation that seems ideal in every way, there will be things you have to do that you’d prefer not to. We also recognise that certain factors amidst COVID-19 may make pursuing your ideal career situation inaccessible; unpredictable job market, rapidly-changing business models and disruption from newly emerging fields. While you may have to side-step your ideal situation, for the time being, keeping a long-term vision of where you want to go will give you purpose and the endurance and inspiration to achieve your career goals.

Compare your lists and analyse the results

Now that you’ve taken stock of what you currently do and what you want to do, it’s time to compare your lists. Research suggests that change happens when we recognize the gap between our current reality and our ideal reality:

  • What are the differences?
  • What are your observations?
  • How can you move from your current situation and take steps towards your desired future?
  • Are there gaps in your education, skills or capabilities?
  • How will your natural talents add value to this change?

Take action!

After reflecting on how your two lists compare, it’s time to come up with a plan for how to diminish the difference between the two. Set a deadline for yourself of what you will do in the next week, throughout next month, 6 months from now and share your action plan with someone who will keep you accountable. 

The end of the year is a great time to take stock, realise what is important and develop a plan that takes you into your future and the success you seek.  The formula for your success is founded on your unique combination of skills and value you bring to business plus the impact you want to have on the world plus your purpose.

Even without the threat of a global pandemic, adjusting to change and moving forward purposefully can be incredibly challenging. By taking time to reflect, evaluate and create a vision, you will slowly begin to feel more in control and purposeful with how you move forward.

If you are interested in guidance and expertise during your career development journey, we encourage you to connect with Steam Capital. We will help you navigate the employment process with purpose and intent so that you can take control of your future and reach your full potential.


Libby Marshall

Author Libby Marshall

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