The December 2016 holidays have been so far my most enjoyable holidays. During this time, I did catch up with a lot of old friends. One thing that I observed in our conversations is that a lot of people are anxious about their careers. Job Vipi? (How is work?) Someone would ask. The answer would be a long tirade of fears; ‘’there is talk of our company moving its operations to Zambia, some donors have pulled out we don’t know what will happen, our firm is merging up with this other firm some positions will be redundant ’’, the list is endless.
How can we plan so that the changing aspects of business or economy present to us opportunities and not uncertainties?
The Harvard business review newsletter does offer some insights; according to an article titled “developing a strategy for a life of meaningful labor” by Brian Fetherstonehaugh, there are four things that one needs to do.
1. Figure out the career stage that you are at.
There are three stages of a career, stage one is from when you start in your career to the late thirties. Here you learn different new things, you make a few wrong turns, and you get to know yourself. This stage should be a time of discovery. The second is from the late thirties to the fifties. This is the stage where you should find your sweet spot; the one thing that you do best, you enjoy doing and is of value to the world. Seek for jobs that utilize your sweet spot. The last stage is from the fifties onwards. In this stage you need a sustainable job, and one that has a pace that you can manage. A good career that fits this stage I would say is a university professor.
2. Take stock of your transferable skills.
Transferable skills are skills that are valuable to any organization. They can be grouped into two; meaningful experiences, and lasting relationships. Work to build this two. Jump into the ring and get experiences that are applicable to the evolving nature of your industry. In my time, long before Mr. Kibaki became the president of Kenya, one highly sought for skills were computer skills. The people who went to study basic computer applications in addition to their various diplomas scooped most of the Jobs that came up. Strong relationships are possibly the most important career fuel. Your mentors, critics and connections are a must for your career growth.
3. Evaluate your current work situation.
Are you having impact? Are you learning? Are you having fun? If you score low on this then you know you need to do something.
4. Spend your time wisely.
Time is a valuable resource in career development. Spend it on priorities. Priorities are those things that will have a big positive impact in your life.