Career Resilience

Working life is faced with setbacks, pressure, disappointments, threats to our career, sudden and unexpected change.  And, dare I say it?  Even bullying! What is key to our wellbeing and self-belief, is how we deal with situations ie how resilient we are.

Ask yourself:

  • How did I truly feel last time I was faced with a setback?
  • Did I react positively – negatively – indifferent?
  • What impact did the situation have on myself and others?
  • What did I do about it?
  • What did I learn from it?

We all react differently because we are all individual, with different personalities, styles and past experiences that influence our feelings, attitudes and emotions.  However, learning the key to career resilience will help to bullet proof our future goals, ambitions and wellbeing.

So where do we start?  The ability to recognise and control our emotions lies at the heart of ‘resilience’.  Research suggests that people with a high EI (Emotional Intelligence) perform better, experience more job satisfaction and can develop more easily (positivity – good listening skills – body language awareness and self-reflection).

Seek legacy, mastery, and freedom — in that order. According to Nathaniel Koloc, Harvard Business Review August’15 ‘Building a career worth having’

Research from authors such as Daniel Pink (<a href="http://www omeprazole”>Drive), Cal Newport (So Good They Can’t Ignore You), Ben Casnocha and Reid Hoffman (Startup of You), and Tony Hsieh (Delivering Happiness) shows that there are three primary attributes of fulfilling work:

Legacy. A higher purpose, a mission, a cause. This means knowing that in some way — large or small — the world will be a better place after you’ve done your work.

Mastery. This refers to the art of getting better and better at skills and talents that you enjoy using, to the extent that they become intertwined with your identity. Picture a Jedi, or a Samurai, or a master blacksmith.

Freedom. The ability to choose who you work with, what projects you work on, where and when you work each day, and getting paid enough to responsibly support the lifestyle that you want.

The order is important. People are fulfilled most quickly when they first prioritize the impact that they want to have (legacy), then understand which skills and talents they need to have that impact (mastery), and finally “exchange” those skills for higher pay and flexibility (freedom) as they develop and advance.

Starting Point:  starting your career resilience journey – develop ‘reflective practice’.  A simple model, such as Driscoll’s (2007) ‘What?’ model develops reflective and critical thinking:

  • What?  Step 1 – what is happening for you right now in your career
  •  So what?  Step 2 – carry out an analysis by reflecting ie strengths, weaknesses of the situation – what are the opportunities awaiting you or threats that may hold you back?
  •  Now what?  Step 3 – develop an action plan, which could include your continuous professional development – courses, programmes, qualifications to enhance your position and profession; networking opportunities to promote yourself; a career coach; buddy or mentor to support you etc

As far as feeling freedom in my career now versus five years ago… I think if I feel any more free it’s simply because of the experiences that I’ve had, and the wisdom I’ve accumulated from that time.

Mary Chapin Carpenter

Vanessa Jarrett

May 2014