“How can I build up career adaptability?”
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Adaptability refers to our ability to adjust, shift and move our mindsets, perspectives to formulate plans and solutions in the midst of changes. In everything in the world right now ranging from global COVID19 fears, technology acceleration and international and civil tensions, the need for adaptability in our professional roles is more critical than ever.
Many clients approach me with questions of adaptability. They could be impacted by changes at work and changes within themselves, leading to issues such as stress levels, workplace relationships issues, disengagement with work. This can be described as a fit issue between the person and the environment as described in the Theory of Work Adjustment (Dawis, Lofquist 1964). They feel stuck in their roles and their feelings manifest and intensify as they are become increasingly unsure of what to do about their situation and what to do next.
Career adaptability refers to how we can cope with anticipated and unpredictable situations and make appropriate adjustments to improve the person-environment fit issue. To build up career adaptability, there are 4 areas of activities that we need to build. These areas are based on Professors Mark Savickas and Erik Porfeli, in their research work in the area of career adaptability.
Being concerned and aware about what is preferred for the future
Think about the situations that are happening at your work and your life which may be causing concern for your career. Ponder upon future situations and scenarios as well which may happen. Generate some appropriate responses and options in response to these situations.
Taking control, being disciplined, positive and persistent in deciding and acting on plans
Formulate action steps towards your responses arising from your concerns. Apply discipline and commitment towards what you want, in small tangible steps. Remind yourself of why you are doing this and to be positive in the midst of challenges and difficulties.
Having curiosity to explore opportunities and possibilities
Be brave to think about all possibilities for yourself. Be curious by asking, exploring and observing about personal and professional growth areas. Look into your networks for people to speak to and seek to learn from them.
Having confidence to design actions and implement towards the future
Remind yourself of past challenges that you overcame successfully. Think of your new challenge and how you are able to overcome this too. Plan out steps and resources that you will need to help you succeed in moving forward.
Thinking through and implementing the above areas will build your career adaptability. For my clients, I also recommend a “news clipping approach” by asking them to research online on social media or mainstream media to identify people who have gone through a series of career changes or made pivotal career decisions to re-invent themselves. Using the 4 areas of activities mentioned above to investigate into what these people had gone through and how they did it, we can tangibly see how these steps lead towards career adaptability. A selection of 3-4 of such people which resonates with us should be kept as “news clippings” close to our hearts so that in times of doubt or worry, their journeys can provide inspiration and reminders for what we should do for ourselves.
As the writer of the book Adaptability: The Art of Winning in an Age of Uncertainty, Max Mckeown puts it: “All failure is failure to adapt, all success is successful adaption”, we need to adapt now, more than ever before. Holding onto mindsets of “I do not need to change” or “I am too worried to change” will only hold us back from our re-invention that is awaiting you and me.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Gerald Tan, Hatch Asia Consulting, is a certified career service provider and a verified Master of Career Services by the National Career Development Association (NCDA).
Gerald enjoys developing career development interventions, services and consultancy to help individuals and groups with varying career needs on a systemic level. As an experienced Career Developer, he supports career needs, working with various schools, companies and non profit organisations on career development projects to support students, employees and beneficiaries.
He has deep knowledge about the career transitions and understanding how employers and job seekers need to work together to facilitate career transitions.
Hatch Asia Consulting is a Talent Solutions Provider solving talent challenges in the area of sourcing and building career success. Contact us at www.hatchasiaco.com today.