Caterpillar growth to butterfly shadow

Keeping up with Changing Times: Be Ready for a Career Switch

Heather Myers

Chief Psychology Officer | PhD | Analyzer/Mentor in Work

Now more than ever before, workers are changing employers and careers more frequently. Our grandparents may have stayed with the same company their entire careers, but this is no longer the case. Expectations have shifted with the emergence of new technology and with new generations entering the workforce.

In fact, a recent Deloitte report suggests that the newest generation to the workforce, Generation Z, has different expectations than even millennials. This generation values diversity on a larger scale, including identity and orientation, and expects companies to be good global citizens. It also places great emphasis on personalized development plans with room for growth and pivots into new roles.

The desire for growth and tackling new career challenges is of course not specific to Generation Z. Most of us will change jobs several times over the course of our lives. This is particularly relevant today when unemployment rates continue to climb as we experience fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic. In March the unemployment rate in the United States rose to 4.4%, marking the largest over-the-month change since 1975. Some industries such as hospitality and food service have been hit especially hard by the pandemic, and stress levels are high across the board.

In an attempt to reduce stress and help people through the pandemic, many organizations are offering free classes and personal development tools. Use of these tools can help us see this time as one for career growth and exploration. We can start with some self-reflection by asking the following questions:

  • Am I happy in my current career?
  • Do I see a path for personal growth?
  • How do I know what other careers I might enjoy?
  • Where do I go from here?

A tried and true way to find something you might be interested in is to reach out to those in your professional network via LinkedIn or Twitter. Read up on what they’re doing. Ask for an informational interview to learn about what a job is like on a daily basis. Find out what benefits or perks it offers and what challenges it presents. Learning about the specifics can help you decide whether or not you wish to pursue that career path and what might be involved in doing so.

Another great source of exploration are career websites such as Indeed, Monster, LinkedIn, and Glassdoor. Look at news headlines to see what industries are currently hiring during the pandemic, or to get a sense of what companies may be staffing up as time goes on. Then head to career sites to take a look at available jobs and see reviews of companies. Remember there are many careers that you may have never heard of. This is even more striking when you consider rapid changes to technology that create jobs that didn’t exist even a decade ago. Several recent articles draw our attention to a variety of these jobs, such as Instagram influencer, YouTuber, VR game developer, and social media manager. Some of these new careers made Monster’s list of high paying new careers that didn’t exist 10 years ago, such as director of analytics, user experience designer, and mobile app developer.

Once you’ve identified some career opportunities that interest you, think about what skills you’d like to develop as you work towards your new path. Check out some of the free courses on Khan Academy or LinkedIn. Also, many colleges and universities, such as Harvard and Stanford, offer free online courses in a variety of fields. These are available via platforms such as Coursera, edX, and Udemy. This is a great opportunity to learn something new that could help you progress in your career. Finally, consider taking a personality assessment to find out more about yourself and your personal strengths. Use those insights to help bolster your interviewing strategy and pinpoint work environments that work well for you.

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If you’re part of an organization that has laid off or furloughed employees, Traitify can help you bring personality strengths and insights to those you are helping. Please reach out here.

 

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