“Still don’t know what I was waitin’ for, and my time was running’ wild……..ch ch changes…..” David Bowie.
Change. The word most people are sick of hearing. But change happens every day whether we like it or not. How we react and adapt (or not) to changes in our workplace not only show what we’re made of, but it either helps or hinders our success. To me, it’s not really about change per se, but rather continually moving forward in a fast-paced world. Unless we are completely oblivious to what goes on around us, we know change is coming. Why then do we act surprised when it gets here? When it touches us? Why then do we think maybe we should have done something different sooner, like learn a new skill or enhance a rusty one? Why then do we feel like we should have taken control of our career sooner?
Don’t let this be you. Take control of your career now. Take control of your learning. Make a plan and put that plan into action. While we may not always be able to alter the course the way we’d like, we have a better chance of staying relevant and marketable. Relevancy matters. We were hired because we had relevant skills for the job. And that’s great if we were hired recently. But what if we were hired 5, 10, 15, 20 years ago or more? Some of those skills still matter of course, and hopefully we’ve enhanced them. But have we taken the time to develop new skills needed to help us stay relevant in a fast-changing world and help move our organizations forward? Or have we stayed in a bubble and not kept up on what’s happening in our respective industries and professions?
I’m celebrating 28 years at my firm on April 2nd. Longevity can be viewed as a great thing…..or not so great depending on your viewpoint. I didn’t envision being here that long, but many things kept me here. Executive leadership has consistently been strong. Personal and professional development has been encouraged and supported by my boss, and that is priceless to me. I continually sought to enhance and change job responsibilities as time marched on to keep stretching myself for personal job satisfaction. And I learned….and kept learning by getting involved in industry associations, eventually moving into leadership at the local and national levels, completing a college degree, attaining professional certifications, soaking up information from publications and blogs, attending workshops, conferences, webinars, connecting with peers, and the list goes on. These things have not only helped me enhance already solid skills, but gain new skills that are relevant in today’s world. And it keeps me hungry for more.
There are so many resources at our fingertips that there is no excuse not to be ready when change comes knocking at the door. We cannot afford to rest on our laurels of yesterday because yesterday is gone. While not all change is fun, most of it can be if we reframe our thinking. As HR influencer and blogger Mary Faulkner says, “No matter how great change is, it will still seem like a wrecking ball.” By taking control of your career and staying relevant, you’ll be ready for it.