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How To Future-proof Your Career

The 2018 'Future of Jobs' report by the World Economic Forum listed the top 10 careers that will be in decline by 2022 as a result of the increase in robot technology.

How To Future-proof Your CareerTop 10 careers in decline

  1. Data entry clerks
  2. Accounting, bookkeeping and payroll clerks
  3. Administrative and executive secretaries
  4. Assembly and factory workers
  5. Client information and customer service officers
  6. Business services and administrative managers
  7. Accountant and auditors
  8. Material handling and stock clerks
  9. General and operations managers
  10. Postal service clerks

If your career is on the list it’s probably time for you to start taking action to avoid becoming an unemployment statistic in the next few years. Even if you do keep your job, at the very least your career prospects will be reduced as your organisation prepares to take advantage of new technology.

So how do you future-proof your career? This article could have given you the list of the 10 emerging careers from the same report but it's not encouraged to choose a career based on the report criteria because it could also be subject to future changes and you’ll find yourself out of work again. Plus, it’s unlikely to give you a dream career, more like a job that pays the bills.

What you need to do is a career pivot so you can create a career that is future-proof.

If you’ve ever watched a dancer then you’ll have seen a pivot in action.  It means to 'move your body around a central point to go in a new direction'. A successful pivot requires 5 things:

You start with a solid core and good alignment. You then decide on a new direction and take advantage of leverage to create momentum. That way you can use a small amount of effort to achieve a big shift.

Doing a pivot in your career involves the same 5 steps

  • Step 1 - Core

    Every dancer needs a solid core, which is another way of saying stomach muscles. When it comes to your career your core is in the same place: it’s your gut instinct. This isn’t a logical process, there are no perfect answers, a strong core is made up of 5 key dimensions:

    1.    Drivers
    2.    Beliefs
    3.    Values
    4.    Identities
    5.    Priorities

    If you want your career to have a strong core you need to define what those criteria are for you not just go along with what other people tell you they should be.
  • Step 2 - Alignment

    To successfully pivot the 5 dimensions of your core must be aligned. Without your body in alignment you will probably wobble and lose balance. The same is true for your career. You might take on a different career but quickly find that it isn’t a good fit. You need to understand how aligned you are now and take steps to improve your alignment if you want to make your pivot easier.
  • Step 3 - Direction

    Your pivot doesn’t need to be big but it does need to have a clear direction or you will waste time and energy. Setting your direction starts with understanding where you are now, why it isn’t working and then deciding where you want to head next. There is more than one way to pivot, so far I’ve come up with over a dozen options I suggest to clients.
  • Step 4 - Leverage

    A dancer doesn’t pivot from a standing start. That uses a lot of effort for not much result. They use the leverage of other steps leading up to the pivot to help them move. That way they can turn further with less effort. The same technique works for your career pivot. You need to leverage your existing skills, experiences and contacts to help you pivot. Most of my clients know there are aspects of their current career they can use in a new career, they just need to know how to leverage them more effectively so they get big results from a small effort.
  • Step 5 - Momentum

    Now that you’re moving you need to keep the momentum going. A good pivot uses small steps not giant strides because they can’t be maintained. It also considers the obstacles that might get in the way so you don’t give up when it gets hard. Like dancing, those obstacles are usually other people!  You can’t rely on motivation alone to give you momentum because we all know that fades quickly. What you need is a support system to help you. Just like a ballroom dancer has a partner to rely on, you also need the right partner.

The good news is that doing a pivot does not necessarily mean making a big career change. Your pivot could allow you to stay with your current employer and simply move to a different part of the organisation.

So if you find yourself in danger of being replaced by technology apply the pivot process to ensure your next move gives you a future-proof career.

Author Credits

Karen Schmidt CSP is passionate about helping people turn their dream career into reality. It took her 14 years of working in 7 different industries before she discovered her strength, completed a degree in Adult Education and started her own speaking and coaching business. Over the next 20 years Karen worked with organisations across 8 countries in the Asia Pacific region to develop their people. She also helped many individuals get promoted, change careers or start businesses. Along the way she wrote 5 books, won awards, travelled business class, stayed in luxury hotels and was the VIP at events signing autographs and posing for photos. Sounds impressive. Well it was until it all disappeared. She went from wondering how she could live without valet parking to wondering how she was going to pay for petrol. Karen found out the hard way what happens when you start sleep walking through your career. Her goal now is to show others how to wake up and turn their dream career into reality. Karen is a Certified Speaking Professional, an internationally recognised accreditation held by less than 10% of members of the Global Speakers Federation. Contact Karen on karen@karenschmidt.com.au.

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