Call it the Great Resignation, the Great Return, or as fellow coach Dorie Clark and I laughed about, the Great Resentment--the recent reshuffling of talent means that our leadership, job market, and career paths will never be the same. As an entrepreneurial coach, I am familiar with the conversations all of us are having now: How can I make an impact? Is the work I do worth the sacrifice? What will it take to get where I want to be?
The good news, as I share in my new book, Career Remix: Get the Gig You Want With the Skills You've Got, is that you already have a lot of what you need to pivot into an even stronger career. Well, most of it anyway. The biggest mistake we can make is looking at our previous jobs as a waste. Here's how we can all maximize our past to build an even stronger career path now.
Separate job from career
Your job is theirs. Your career is yours. This is true even when, like myself, you start your own company. To paraphrase Seth Godin, all foundings end. Your current job is just a vessel for your intention.
Your career, though, is yours to keep. It is the difference between the how and the why. In a macro example, Alphabet's goal is to organize our lives (why), but the vessel has evolved from organizing the internet (Google Search) to organizing our digital communication (Gmail) to organizing our digital voices (Android). I share in Career Remix that it took me a while to realize this after I sold my own company, Cuddlr. I can already see the Great Resignation speeding up other people's understanding of what took me years to learn.
Own your network
Our networks are often tied to a fixed entity: the company we founded, the job we got, or the profession we choose. We fail, though, when we need power or influence beyond what we know. Or, as the millions who have quit recently realized, when you notice your entire network is tied into the organization you just left.
We actually need two networks: an inner network and an outer network. The inner network is composed of those who understand your profession and your work. The outer network is composed of those who might care about you and your work but are in completely different lanes. For instance, when I needed to protect my intellectual property, hear strong investment advice, and create better passive income streams, I didn't look to my fellow journalists, founders, and public speakers. I reached out to the lawyers, CPAs, and entertainment moguls in my circle.
Make your move now
Think about where you were exactly two years ago, when much of this global disruption began. Now, we're getting into some type of normal cadence, which means the window to make any type of big changes to your path is closing. Unfortunately, it is still easy to be stuck. I share as much in Career Remix:
If we think in guarantees--"I'm not going to do this unless I know it will turn out to be a great decision"--then we will miss opportunities that take little effort and can potentially give us exponential returns. And if we focus too much on the how--"I'm not even sure about how to price this product, what the marketing will look like, and where it would be sold, so I'm not even going to research my idea"--then we miss the why.
The opportunity cost of not doing anything
From standard online meetings to NFTs to the metaverse, it's easy to forget that so many commonplace things today barely existed when the Great Resignation started. All these things came from thin air--or, more accurately, from a creator who decided to bet on the future. But this radical time won't last forever. And, a decade from now, what would you say you would have done during this once-in-a-lifetime power shift?
For now, though, you still have time. Don't regret a future that is yet to be made.