Knowing that I've been doing a lot of writing and thinking about career resilience, fellow career coach Scott Woodard recently pointed me to a Seth Godin post on the topic. A few things from Seth's post stood out for me, further underscoring the points I've been trying to make here.
First, he says:
Most of the time, we build our jobs and our organizations and our lives around today, assuming that tomorrow will be a lot like now.
This is something I see many of us doing--assuming that what has happened before will happen again. It's a big argument I get from people about the impact of technology on our jobs. They argue that we've always created more jobs when technology disrupted us before, so we should expect that to happen again.
But if there's ONE thing we should have learned from the last few years, it's that tomorrow will NOT be like today. The only thing we can depend on is that we live in volatile times, which means that prediction specific events is getting harder and harder to do.
Intentionally stripping away dependencies on things you can no longer depend on is the single best preparation to change.
This is a challenge for folks, I know. But it's necessary. Dependencies can get in the way of our ability to be resilient because they limit our opportunities to respond to changing circumstances.
Think carefully about what you are dependent on that you can no longer depend on. Jobs as your single source of income is one thing that comes to mind. Being rewarded for blind loyalty in the workplace is another . .
Third key quote:
Invest in a network. When your neighbor can lend you what you need, it's far easier to survive losing what you've got. Cities and villages and tribes with thriving, interconnected neighborhoods find that the way they mesh resources and people, combined with mutual generosity, makes them more able to withstand unexpected change. And yes, the word is 'invest', because the connection economy thrives on generosity, not need. (my emphasis)
This is what I've been saying about Connecting as a key career resilience pattern. It's crucial. What Seth points out, though, is that it needs to be connection based on being generous, on sharing and paying it forward, not connection when you need something. It's relational, not transactional.
We're tempted to isolate ourselves from change, by building a conceptual or physical moat around our version of the future. Better, I think, to realize that volatility is the new normal.
Putting all your eggs in one basket and watching the basket really carefully isn't nearly as effective as the other alternatives. Not when the world gets crazy.
Isolation and trying to insulate yourself from change aren't going to work. Change is coming anyway and you won't be prepared. The "moat" approach is a recipe for disaster.
Career resilience isn't about "putting all your eggs in one basket and watching that basket really carefully." It's about building the right patterns into your life now that will allow you to respond to a volatile future. The more we focus on our capacity to respond to change the better off we'll be.