Your Career, Your Story 

 

Steven Moe is an accomplished lawyer, author, and determined agent for empowering others to be the best they can be. In a brief career chat (see the video) we talked about how people who see the potential in us can make a big difference to how we navigate our career. in addition, when we do the same for others, we are sowing the seeds of positive impact. He says the “Why?” question is fundamental in thinking about the motivation for what we do. With that in mind, here’s a great reflective activity inspired by Steven—write three bulleted points (and only three) about why you do what you do. Have fun!

Dr Val O’Reilly is an Executive Director of The Career Development Company. Keep an eye on our Resources page for support to navigate your career journey. #career conversations #wayfinding 

 

Requirements for NCEA and UE this year are different. The changes should support student achievement. However, Covid-19 disruptions in education may mean some parents and students are anxious. Caroline Sandford and Dr Val O’Reilly, Executive Directors of  The CDC, discuss some steps students and parents can take to stay up to date—and navigate the changes. #wayfinding

 

To reimagine is to ‘reinterpret (an event, work of art, etc.) imaginatively’. Drawing on your creative energy to reflect on your career is the theme of Pat Cody’s conversation with Julie Thomas.

As a career professional and art enthusiast Pat shares insights from his own career transitions and years of experience supporting clients through change. Pat says to be gentle with yourself, find an inspiring place to reflect, capture your ideas in the moment and create an artefact that helps you to follow your purpose. He also encourages us to find our circuit breakers to tame unhelpful noise, to seek out fresh perspectives and try new things, and ‘trust that you have the answers’.

 

Julie Thomas is an Executive Director of The Career Development Company. Keep an eye on our homepage for updates on our response to Covid-19. #career #career conversations

 

Connect. Communicate. Explore.

Networking is about sharing information, whether the connections are between humans or computers.  At the individual level, we might experience some awkwardness when we first meet people in unfamiliar social and work settings. With practice and by observing others we become accustomed to certain ways of behaving and introducing ourselves. In time our confidence in networking grows.

Career professional and social media expert Andrew Tui has some great advice about saying ‘hello’ online (see the short video below). Essentially, the same networking etiquette we observe when we articulate our elevator pitch applies when we create our personal brand online. Andrew encourages us to understand the platform we want to use while taking time to reflect on who we are and how we want to present ourselves. And, as he says, it’s OK to try new things.

 

 

Dr Val O’Reilly is an Executive Director of The Career Development Company. Keep an eye on our homepage for updates on our response to Covid-19. #career #career conversations

Get comfortable with your short, powerful message about what you have to offer and craft it for your online introduction

 

 

Colour yourself super

Identifying your transferable skills is much more fun if you think about them as your super powers. Career expert Amanda Smidt sees all our life roles as contexts we can draw on to develop these skills (watch below).  She explains that people also refer to transferable skills as soft skills or generic skills. These include the obvious ones such as time-management, communication and team work.

Within the job search process, thinking of transferable skills as super powers needs to align with an individual’s personal career story. Creating a story around skills as personal strengths draws attention to your unique characteristics and achievements. In addition it’s important to clarify how you have practically demonstrated those strengths in situations relevant to your preferred work. This is likely to set you apart from those who simply list a set of skills in their CV or during a job interview.

As Amanda says, be bold and courageous as you put the finishing touches on your own super powers picture!

Dr Val O’Reilly is an Executive Director of The Career Development Company. Keep an eye on our homepage for updates on our response to Covid-19. #career #career conversations

 

Preparation means practice

Congratulations. You’ve been invited to a job interview. That effort you put in to research the organisation and the position description and to create a great CV paid off. You’re feeling full of hope, enthusiasm and nervous anticipation. Especially if it’s the job you really, really want.

Before you leap into the interview, it’s just as important to practise some responses to likely questions as it was to prepare your application. You want to be confident to present your best self.  The good news is that there are steps you can take to make the most of your opportunity to get that job offer. To help you, career expert Julie Thomas shares details on some interview essentials (see below).

Dr Val O’Reilly is an Executive Director of The Career Development Company. Keep an eye on our homepage for updates on our response to Covid-19. #career #career conversations

 

Tips to navigate the steps for a market-ready CV

You’re applying for jobs and you need to write a great CV in a hurry.  So you sit down, open your laptop, start a new document or open your old CV  to get it sorted and then…confusion. One thing you know is that you need to describe your transferable skills.  Where to start? What to put in? Which parts to leave out? And what are employers looking for now? You need help!

Career expert Caroline Sandford has some timely tips to navigate writing a CV (see below).  Although things have changed in what’s needed for a great CV, Caroline makes what might seem like a complex task sound fun. It’s simpler than you might imagineonce you know how.  Her insights and recommendations will help people who might never have written or needed a CV before and those looking to refresh the content for today’s market.  

Dr Val O’Reilly is an Executive Director of The Career Development Company. Keep an eye on ourhomepage for updates on our response to Covid-19. #career #career conversations

 

 

With the advent of Covid-19, like many businesses, there has been the need to quickly adapt to a new way to work effectively with our clients. What has been in the past, work which has been in person face to face, has quickly become work that has had to be delivered online.  With that has come challenges, calling on the need to adapt and be nimble – exactly what we ask of our clients as they face changes in their own career. Caroline talks to Dr Val O’Reilly on her insights about delivering our work in a new way.

Caroline Sandford is an Executive Director of The Career Development Company.

Tips for moving forward

In my work with clients I use the word reflect to signal an essential activity for their career development. Since Covid-19, the term reframe is now a recurring feature in my career conversations. Importantly, the sense of reframing is not about repeating what has gone before. As my colleague Caroline Sandford wrote a short time ago, it describes a change that is taking place.

And as so many have articulated recently, we are experiencing unprecedented change. Several weeks ago, to explore the immediate impact of Covid-19 on workers and their families, I spoke with Andrew; expert builder and company director. As we began the Level 4 lock down here in New Zealand he was uncertain about what might happen to the business and the employees. He joins me again (see below) for an update. His story of reaching out to his network to reframe his career in the construction sector is a hopeful oneand one that highlights the value of building relationships based on mutual trust.

Dr Val O’Reilly is an Executive Director of The Career Development Company. Keep an eye on our homepage for updates on our response to Covid-19. #career #career conversations

 

Neuro-sculpting children’s career development

We don’t need to search psychology articles on the internet to know that parents influence their children’s development. However, American author, educator and psychologist Joann Deak has an interesting way to describe parents’ role. She says parents are “neuro-sculptors” and that all of the interactions children have during the course of a day influence the adults they will become.

As career professionals, we know the role of parents is also critical in their children’s career development. The influence on children’s perceptions of career begins when they are young and continues over time whenever parents talk about or model behaviours and attitudes about their own or others’ work.  

To highlight the practical aspects of neuro-sculpting from a career perspective and explore how parents can have effective conversations with their children, I spoke with career expert and Mum Amanda Smidt. Lately she has been having fascinating career conversations in her family bubble. (See below).

Dr Val O’Reilly is an Executive Director of The Career Development Company. Keep an eye on our homepage for updates on our response to Covid-19. #career #career conversations

Connecting with teens about their career

Parents have an important role in helping teens connect the pieces of the career jigsaw. And that can at times be challenging. Add to that the current labour market uncertainty and you’ve got a complex puzzle to fit together. Career conversations between parents and teens can support the young person to make sense of the process. The conversation can be relaxed, informal, possibly short and preferably regular. You can ask open questions and listen to discover what your teen is thinking, what they know and don’t know and what support is needed for their career development.

In New Zealand, the national youth development strategy  defines young people as between the ages of 12-24 years. Within that group we generally understand teenagers to be young people between 13 and 19i.e., their ages end in “teen”. My chat today (see below) is with Julie Thomas, who is a career expert and Mum to two teens. Julie shares some great tips for parents to keep things simple and in perspective. 

 

Dr Val O’Reilly is an Executive Director of The Career Development Company. Keep an eye on our homepage for updates on our response to Covid-19. #career #career conversations

The world has certainly been turned upside down since Covid-19 hit the world stage and our NZ shores. The fall out over the next few weeks, months and years is going to be immense – way more than we can anticipate. And of course, the casualties of businesses folding, including those that are iconic in our society, with the inevitable large-scale redundancies that will follow, does not make for a pretty picture. The world as we knew it is irrevocably changed.

Those of us who work at the coal face of human services will already be aware of the human toll this is going to take – people losing their jobs, their livelihoods, their ability to make money, their house, their lifestyle, their opportunities to travel, their ability to fund the extras, their confidence….and often a loss of their identity. This significant event has thrown the entire world into complete chaos, and we are all scrambling to figure out what the new rules are.

However, this is where those of us who do work at the coal face can make a real difference. We are no longer dealing with how it worked in the past, but we need to all look for new ways to make it work in the future. That requires a rethink and reframe of where we are all at. This is the work that career professionals do.

Career professionals have had a bit of a PR issue over the years. The pervading view that career professionals only match whatever you are skilled at with where the jobs are, write CVs and help you to get jobs, and that anyone can do this, has done the profession a huge disservice. The work of the career professionals I have known and worked with over my 20+years in the industry would certainly negate this view.

Some of us may do some ‘transactional’ type work. But what career professionals have a superpower in is the ability to work with an individual to support them where they are at. When people are suffering from what life has dealt them, and to help them to see the world differently, to gain an understanding and insight into what they have to offer, to gain confidence and competence in how they can approach their new reality, to build resilience in the face of adversity, to support them to reframe their current reality and to think creatively about how they can look at new options or apply different ways of working to create a new way of working and to thrive.

The traditional view of career – that a career equals what you do for a job, is no longer valid. Career is far bigger than your job. Career covers your entire life, encompassing the many and varied experiences that you have over your lifetime. It covers the many roles that we all have in life – being a student, a parent, a child, a caregiver, a friend, a volunteer, following a hobby, being in paid work…the list goes on. Each of the many roles that we occupy over our life-time presents opportunities and experiences for us to develop skills and strengths, to add them to our kete of what we have to offer, and what we can take forward into the next part of our journey.

This is the starting point. Looking at strengths and what can be transferred from the past and current into the future. Looking at how we can rethink and reframe what was, to what will work for the future. And using a creative mindset to reinvent ourselves, to look for opportunities, to look at how we can contribute in new ways, and to look at different ways of thinking and working. The work of career professionals is to help individuals to move from yesterday, and what worked then, to tomorrow and how it will be in a changed world, different from what we have all known.

So what does career mean in the Covid-19 environment? We know it will look different from what we expected. But with that is hope, and readjusting, and a change of thinking, and a creative approach to figure out how the future will now look.

If you are supporting someone to reframe their career, or reframing your own career, we have developed some resources that may prove helpful for self-reflection and to explore possibilities.

Caroline Sandford is an Executive Director at The Career Development Company

Keeping it real in turbulent times

Over the next few weeks I’m catching up with three career professionals who are also parents. Their take on how parents can manage career conversations with their children will be timely. These are stormy seas we’re all navigating. I’ll be asking each expert to unpack some of the important steps parents can take to support their children in their career journeys. 

I’ve written before about why expertise matters, and these chats will tap into expert, up-to-date career knowledge. A key topic will be how to manage heightened uncertainty about the changing labour market.

My first chat about career conversations (see below) is with Caroline Sandford. Her young adult children are in their twenties. Next time I’ll be chatting with Julie Thomas about career conversations with teenagers and the third catch up will be with Amanda Smidt about career conversations with young children.

Dr Val O’Reilly is an Executive Director of The Career Development Company. Keep an eye on our homepagefor updates on our response to Covid-19. #career #wayfinding

It’s hard to believe it was only two months ago I published a blog Flipping of the Calendar on how key dates in your life can prompt reflection on your career. Although the Life Visioning Activity remains relevant, I want to share two activities you can consider when you have the headspace for reflection.

Turning to my bookshelf for inspiration I was reminded how a book by Mark Manson was shared amongst colleagues during a tumultuous period of organisational change. The premise is that we are bombarded with messages to do and be more, and the way out of the stress-inducing negative feedback loop this induces is to reorient ourselves to ‘only what is true and immediate and important’.

In the few weeks since the Covid-19 lockdown, my online career coaching conversations with clients took on a new form with an open question along the lines of ‘How has Covid-19 impacted on your thinking about your career?’ The answers are, as could be expected, about reprioritising time and energy, and a shift of focus to shorter term goals with longer term goals in a holding pattern until the economic impacts are clearer. For an increasing number of households, the ‘true and immediate and important’ will be about ensuring the health and wellbeing of loved ones – that there’s a roof over their head, food on the table, and supportive connections in place.

In a time of uncertainty, maintaining a strong sense of our own identity is a positive contributor to our health and wellbeing. Our identity is made up of multiple and multi-faceted career or work-life roles, roles that are likely changing in ways we didn’t anticipate.

So, what is important to you in work and life?

 

Identifying your values

Our career coaching work with clients continues to confirm that values need to be at the centre of every career and employment decision and yet they are often overlooked. Alignment of work with your values is strongly linked to your level of satisfaction. With many facing career and job transitions over the coming months, it is vital to understand not only what values you will and won’t compromise when seeking your next opportunity but also how your values can be met through a range of work-life roles, not just from paid work. The Career Development Company has developed a range of free career tip sheets including one on  Identifying your Values . Follow the activity steps to identify the values most important to you, how they are currently being met through your work-life roles and consider them when making career and employment decisions.

 

What matters in your life?

Attempts to balance the different elements of our life may have seemed overwhelming and may become increasingly frustrating in the Covid-19 context. Take some time to explore what matters in your life and become clearer about your priorities at this moment. Maybe some things can drop away, leaving you less burdened.

  • Relax your body and mind. When you are ready, write ‘I am …’ followed by an aspect of your identity – the key roles and activities in your life. Do this as many times from different aspects of your life e.g., … parent/ grandparent …daughter/ son … support to aged parents … sibling …friend … volunteer … neighbour … business owner/employee/ manager/ contractor … learner/ student … home maintainer …. animal lover … arts supporter … environmentalist … cyclist/runner/gym goer …
  • Choose five that seem most ‘true and immediate and important’. Capture your thoughts and feelings about each of these roles and activities in whatever way you prefer – with drawings, words or symbols – working with sheets of paper or online. For each, describe why this is most important to you, what your focus has been so far, and any ideas for what you would like to do differently (start, stop, do more or less of).
  • After you’ve finished, allow time for insights – take a walk or ‘sleep on it’. Some prompt questions: What roles and activities feel rich and abundant, and which feel weaker and undernourished? Can you take energy and learnings from one to give to another?
  • Finally take a few minutes to note any practical resolve that comes to mind. Remember that this is about feeling less burdened and doing what matters most to you e.g.,
  • ‘I am going to give more time to do the things I care most about. These are … ‘
  • I am giving up doing … so I can spend more time with/on …‘

During an extended and difficult period of organisational change my colleagues and I were inspired by a book that teaches how to take inventory of your life and scrub out all but the most important items.  I hope these activities help you to identify what is most important to you.

 Julie Thomas is an Executive Director of The Career Development Company.

Immigration

Through The Career Development Company’s social enterprise arm, ‘The Unfurling Fronds’, I have been working alongside fellow migrants as they navigate career in New Zealand. Our stories as migrants, although diverse in the details, share similar themes. We made the tough decision to move away from our families and the life and people we know. We were looking for an opportunity to pave the way for a better life for ourselves and our immediate families, to feel safe, to feel free to be who we are and want to be; to have hope for the future.

Twenty-two years ago, I arrived in New Zealand from South Africa. I remember feeling a mix of nervousness tinged with a sense of excitement and possibility as I touched down at Auckland International Airport. I had never before really traveled except to a few neighbouring countries. This experience was quite different on so many levels, and this time I had planned to stay. Change requires grit – and I had to dig deep for that inner confidence and strength to find my way – to tackle the challenges.

 

The challenges

Many migrants, after overcoming significant challenges in their own countries, are confronted by several new challenges when assimilating into New Zealand. Amongst others, challenges include residency requirements, geography, language, culture, religion, local attitudes, and work.

From very early on in my career I knew somehow that I would draw on my own experiences to help others, and this is evident now more than ever before. As a career practitioner, my focus lies with how individuals, and particularly migrants, can find decent, fulfilling work matching their qualifications and skill sets, and indeed, preferences. They are constantly adapting and rethinking how they might search for work in a new environment. What strikes me and seems to be a common thread in the career stories of migrants (and indeed resonates with me as I remember my first few months here), is the despair at sending out CV after CV with little or no response. Of course, this may be familiar territory even for those who are residents/citizens of New Zealand. Initially they are applying in their field (in many cases a requirement for residency), and eventually trying other avenues that vaguely resemble their qualifications and skill sets. Consequently, preferences descending lower and lower on the scale of priorities. Why is this so?

 

The reality

An uncomfortable topic, and yet a very clear message at a recent meeting of refugees and migrants was their sense of ethnic bias. No matter how qualified, experienced or eager to work, they feel powerless to negate bias. Some choose to change their names to ones that are more ‘acceptable, western-sounding’ just to try and get a foot in the door. The diminishing hope is palpable as the situation becomes financially untenable for many families. Often the option of ‘giving up’ and returning ‘home’ is mooted, however fraught with challenges … “at least I know how to play in that world”. Others, for whom this is not an option, accept the ‘default’ employment options for migrants and refugees, happy to be working and earning but feeling constantly underwhelmed and dissatisfied in their work. And the longer they remain in these positions, the more challenging it is for them to explore other possibilities or even consider strategies to find fulfilling work. Furthermore, when confronted with events like the Christchurch earthquakes, or shootings, or the pandemic we are experiencing, migrants’ feelings of vulnerability are magnified.

It was encouraging, yet sobering, to read a recent Immigration New Zealand (INZ) report (National Migrant Consultations 2018) of recent migrants throughout New Zealand reflecting on their experience of settling and adjusting to life in New Zealand, and the subsequent observations of settlement stakeholder organisations (National Migrant Consultations 2018 – settlement stakeholder organisations). Employment was the area participants identified as most challenging while adjusting to living in New Zealand.

  

Two things come to mind for me:

One relates to employers – some are already enjoying the benefits and richness of investing in a diverse workforce. Without a way of understanding the inherent visa requirements, skills and benefits that migrants bring to the workforce, it seems some employers are left ill-equipped to appreciate and tap into this talent-pool. Seeking external support to devise an approach to career development and talent management can help employers access the immediate and longer-term potential of migrants in their workforce.

The other is access to expert help for migrants as they navigate career in a new environment. Another blog I wrote, ‘Who am I?’, has relevance here. In it I talk about the importance of having those honest, challenging conversations with an expert to reflect first and foremost on ‘Who am I …?’ [and who I might become in this new world], so that we are better positioned to explore possibilities and create and activate meaningful strategies. I am no longer surprised when I hear, “but I had no idea this was so important when searching for jobs”. It is, and it is a critical first step not only for migrants, but for all of us as we navigate career in times of change.

 

Amanda Smidt is an Executive Director at The Career Development Company

To learn more about how we can help to support our migrant community and organisations, contact us at connect@thecdc.nz.

You can also find us at www.thecdc.nz

Wayfinding Covid-19

At the moment, we are quite rightly relying on experts to guide us through Covid-19. According to author and university professor Tom Nichols, sneering at experts was easy until a pandemic arrived, and Covid-19 has forced people back to accepting that expertise matters. Professor of sociology and author Eric Klinenberg says it will force us to reconsider who we are and what we value, and, in the long run, it could help us rediscover the better version of ourselves. That’s why the expertise of career professionals matters now more than ever.

As career practitioners, we are trained in supporting people to reflect on skills, interests and values, and to navigate the journey of self-discovery. The challenge is that often people think they just have a job, not a career. Also, people sometimes assume our focus is helping people update their CV to seek or change jobs. That is important in wayfinding the lifelong journey that is career. However, for managing change, it’s our process of supporting people to reflect, explore, create strategies and implement action plans that makes a difference.  

To find out more about how people are managing change during Covid-19, I talked with my friend Andrew – family man, construction company owner and generally wise human. He makes insightful comments regarding what’s different about decision-making in today’s changing world, and why expertise matters. To mix a few metaphors, I think he nails it. Watch below.

Dr Val O’Reilly is an Executive Director of The Career Development Company. Keep an eye on our homepage for updates on our response to Covid-19. #career #wayfinding

Perspective

Finding our way

I wrote last month, from my perspective as a career professional, about navigation and wayfinding as powerful metaphors for the life journey that is your career. The pandemic was then, a few short weeks ago, mainly of concern at a distance and not an immediate career development issue here in Auckland, let alone Aotearoa New Zealand. How quickly circumstances can change. The ripples from Covid-19 have morphed into devastating waves that are pushing us to rethink our daily lives from local, national and international perspectives.

Wayfinding through the disruptions

Precedents of influenza pandemics in the last two centuries mean the present conditions are not entirely unchartered waters. Nonetheless, the real and immediate effects of the coronavirus are demanding that governments, organisations, and individuals themselves take pragmatic and innovative steps to ensure wellbeing and protect livelihoods.

A career development response to what may be a “new normal” of disruptions in employment and social connections this year can draw on tried and true methods for supporting people to solve problems in navigating their career journey. In addition, use of digital technologies will increasingly be needed to guide people, who may require support at a distance, through the necessary steps of reflecting, exploring, creating strategies and implementing action plans.

Dr Val O’Reilly is an Executive Director of The Career Development Company

Lessons from the AI ecosystem

Somewhat ironically, the ongoing conversations/debates about the impact of AI and robots on jobs of the future may have already prepared us to navigate socially just ways for addressing the likely impacts of the pandemic on people’s career development. My involvement in the AI Forum NZ working group on law, ethics and society has afforded me the opportunity to hear and share views about the role of government, public and private sectors, and the collective responsibility of AI stakeholders to design, develop and use AI systems to promote the wellbeing of New Zealanders. Our working group recently published a set of guiding principles for trustworthy AI in Aotearoa New Zealand. A key focus was to make sure the principles are simple, succinct and user-friendly.

To find socially just solutions for the complex career development and labour market challenges emerging from the pandemic, the five AI principles could be useful compass points: Fairness and Justice; Reliability, Security and Privacy; Transparency; Human oversight and Accountability; and Wellbeing.

 

 

 

 


Kindness is calming, so as we find our way through the present disruptions wherever we live, let’s look out for and be kind to one another, and especially for those who are vulnerable.

I’m encouraged that developing a particular mindset about life, ourselves, and the future is a trending topic. It deserves the attention. Stanford University psychologist and researcher Carole Dweck writes and speaks about the growth mindset, which describes how our self-concepts make a difference in our lives. The impact of different mindsets on achievement and interpersonal processes is also of concern for career professionals. Helping people to better understand themselves and their work preferences can be more complex in times of labour market uncertainty.  

 The 4th Industrial Revolution (4.0) 

A wayfinding mindset is well worth considering for supporting and successfully navigating careers in this age of 4.0, where the blurring of boundaries between technology and the physical and biological worlds precipitates disruptions. In addition to the transformative potential of wayfinding as an approach to leadership, wayfinding and navigation are powerful metaphors for the life journeys that are our careers.

A brief account of wayfinding 

Urban designers, geographers, and sailors, to name a few, would be familiar with wayfinding as an approach to solving problems of how people orient themselves and navigate from place to place. Early Polynesian voyagers undertook journeys using scientific navigation methods that saw them successfully travel across vast expanses of ocean. They used this same wayfinding knowledge to reach Aotearoa New Zealand centuries ago. The voyagers carefully observed their environment, using traditional ways of knowing and being to “read” the stars, the winds and ocean currents, and the natural life in their surroundings. Guided also by the wisdom of their ancestors, they sought new horizons with courage and determination. They were astute problem-solvers, adapting as they went along—exploring, discovering, oftentimes settling. And importantly, they were able to retrace their journeys to pass on their knowledge to new generations.  

Adopting a wayfinding mindset  

More recently, the successful revitalisation of wayfinding has inspired innovations not only for ocean journeys without modern instruments, but for new ways of thinking about business, design, leadership, and career development. The rationale for adopting a wayfinding mindset rests on the problem-solving skills needed to successfully navigate from place to place, including in careers, where job titles are now like shifting sands.  

The characteristics of successful early and contemporary ocean wayfinders provide inspiration for navigating careers in the age of 4.0:  

  • adaptability  
  • environmental awareness 
  • grit and resilience 
  • mindfulness about responsibilities
  • open-mindedness and curiosity  
  • respect for cultural and spiritual dimensions  
  • support for others to thrive 
  • thirst for learning 

Career professionals adopting (and helping clients develop) a wayfinding mindset in the New Zealand context will find the wayfinding principles of respect for self, others, and the environment are well-aligned with the Career Development Association of New Zealand (CDANZ) Code of Ethics.

The team at The Career Development Company have adopted and promote a Wayfinding Mindset as a systematic approach to career development that draws on expert knowledge, clear thinking for solving problems, and a collaborative approach to managing life’s complexities.

RECI® model

The RECI® model is our unique wayfinder solution, with four practical steps that support both individuals and organisations to make sense of career: Reflect, Explore, Create strategies, and Implement action plans. To learn more, visit The CDC.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dr Val O’Reilly is an Executive Director of  The Career Development Company   

Transitions are part of life. The Cambridge dictionary defines transitions as “a change from one form or type to another, or the process by which this happens”. We are in transition, or going from one form to another throughout our lives. Our many milestones include starting kindy, primary or secondary school, going to university, leaving home, moving cities, starting a new job, traveling overseas, getting married, having a family, etc. The list goes on! And then we have those sudden and unpredictable transitions that we didn’t see coming such as having a medical incident, losing someone close, losing our job, having an accident.

Whatever the transition we face, positive or negative, there is a period of adjustment to allow movement from the old to the new, to learn new skills, new ways of being, and letting go of what no longer works, to adapt to the new reality.

How quickly and effectively someone moves from the old to the new depends on many things. These include the current mindset of the individual, their existing skills, knowledge and experience, their resilience to embrace change and adapt to the new, and the amount of support they are given to do this.

Let’s add the word ‘career’ to ‘transitions’. The contemporary definition of career encompasses an individual’s whole of life with the many roles, paid and unpaid, that are part of this. With this in mind, we can say that all transitions are then part of an individual’s career, across their lifetime.

The topic of career transition is close to my heart, having faced a number of significant transitions in my lifetime, each requiring huge adjustments, learning and resilience. My experience of redundancy is what I would like to share my learnings about here.

Back in the nineties when I was working for an insurance company, I was part of the HR team managing the restructure of the organisation. Subsequently I became one of the many facing redundancy, and it certainly was unexpected. This experience has been invaluable in giving me first-hand experience of the emotional journey, the ups and downs in this process, and learning how to best navigate these. I have since had the privilege of working with many individuals and organisations going through a restructure, and have supported those affected individuals to move through the process and positively transition into the next part of their journey. So, what have I learned?

Career transitions relating to restructure and redundancy are emotional experiences for all involved –  the individuals affected, the remaining employees as well as the employer. How the transition process is handled can have an enormous impact on how quickly and effectively the individual moves positively through the transition and into the next phase of their career. The adjustment by those who are left, and their resultant engagement, motivation and productivity, will also be affected. And of course the organisation’s reputation could be impacted by the perceptions of how they have handled this restructure, how it was communicated and what support was given to all concerned.

Therefore having the support needed to be able to successfully manage and transition into the next part of the journey, is imperative, with the impact of not having support being potentially harmful. 

When an individual is faced with redundancy and consequent career transition, often the first reaction will be emotional shock. This can take time to work through and there are a number of emotional, psychological and physical responses that may occur, such as anxiety, guilt, anger, apathy, sleeplessness, panic attacks, lack of energy, depression, and loss of self- confidence. Support at this stage helps the individual to work through these responses in a healthy way, put strategies in place, and enables an increase in confidence and the skills and knowledge to transition smoothly to the next stage.

For those who remain, the distress they may be feeling for their transitioning colleagues, the guilt of being the ones who remain, and the uncertainty of their workplace, will certainly have an impact on engagement and productivity.  Support to debrief about the loss of what was, allowing them the space to work through what will now be, and reassurance that they will receive ongoing support, will certainly assist in establishing a committed and positive workforce.

Restructure is challenging and can cause significant disruption to the workplace. However it can be done in ways that ensure that all who are affected are treated with respect and integrity. An organisation that recognises this, and ensures communication is as open, clear, and as inclusive as practical, and provides the appropriate support to staff as needed, will likely minimise the disruption as well as positively reinforce the reputation of the organisation to the current staff, those who transition, and to the marketplace.

In my experience, ensuring there is support for all those who are affected by change and transition has certainly been a wise investment and allowed the affected, the remaining and the organisation to move through the restructure as positively as possible.

If you are going through a restructure or facing a career transition and would like to find out about the support that we offer, please enquire here.

Caroline Sandford is an Executive Director of The Career Development Company

The simple act of flipping through the calendar can provide motivation to take stock of your life. For some it is flipping the calendar at the beginning of the year, for others it is when you flip the calendar for a significant birthday or a work anniversary.

My first client in 2020 came with two pending calendar flips in mind – ‘I’m turning 50 this year and I’ve been too long in the same job. I need to make a major career change to enjoy the next 15 years at work’.

It can feel daunting, but you won’t be alone in actively seeking a career change. In the Productivity Commission series of reports on technology and future of work they state that about ½ a million people change jobs every year in New Zealand (20% of the workforce), and of these, more than half change industry.

There are a number of concerns and needs to work through. A key one is understanding the transferability of experience, skills and achievements to different roles and workplaces. This takes a combination of activities to reflect on an individual’s strengths and to explore what is possible, and ultimately take the leap to test the job market by applying for the positions that generate some excitement or ‘pull’ factor.

Another key concern is age and life circumstance. Recent research by Professor David Blanchflower, with an interview on RNZ,  uses a U-shaped happiness curve to describe the possible reasons we hit a happiness low at age 47. Circumstances differ greatly for each person – the labour market they are in, the employment history they have, whether they are partnered or single, their care-giving responsibilities (of all ages), and what financial assets they have. And most importantly, what is meaningful to them and gives them fulfilment in life. If you’re concerned about job seeking as an ‘older worker’ you might find the Stats NZ report on Workers Aged 55+ helpful.

 

If flipping of the calendar triggers a sense of disquiet, think about what support you need to reflect and reset your goals. Here’s an activity that might help.

Life Visioning Activity

Allow yourself 20 minutes of quiet time to ponder and write your answers to these questions below. Really let your imagination flow – don’t analyse as you go, just put pen to paper and see what happens. Your answers should provide clues for what you need to change to realise this life vision.

Imagine you are happy and healthy and 80 years old. You’re sitting in your favourite chair in your favourite place and looking back over your ideal life.

  • Who are you as a person? What is it about you that people value?
  • What have you achieved? What are you proud of?
  • What has added meaning to your life and gives you a sense of fulfilment?
  • How have areas of your life unfolded?
    • Relationships (significant other, family, friends, community)
    • Career (paid and unpaid work and learning)
    • Health (physical, emotional, spiritual)
    • Fun and leisure
  • Finally, from this chair at age 80 what can you see and hear around you right now that makes you truly happy?

It’s never too late to make changes in areas of your life. You can find a lot of information and tools online, talk to people you know and trust, and seek out the specialists who can help. If you want to know more about support for making a career change contact The Career Development Company.

Julie Thomas is an Executive Director of The Career Development Company.