What We Learned in 2009...(and don't want to forget!)

For many, 2009 was a year to forget.  The economic downturn, 10% unemployment, and corporate greed shook many out of comfortable (though only somewhat satisfying) positions at companies they thought were secure. For those who kept their jobs, running lean and mean meant working extra hard to pick up the slack for laid-off coworkers.  

Still I see 2009 as a year to remember.  

Not only for those that weathered the storm but better yet (in the case of many of my clients) made a strategic change into their dream jobs. Many of my clients took the time to Soul Search, Research and Job Search their way into career happiness and I toast this New Years to them! They realized the way to happiness was to take the journey to land their ideal careers. Congratulations!

Plus, 2009 taught us all a few key lessons to take with us into the next decade of 2010: 

Managing Your Career in 2010 and Beyond:

--Change is the one constant we can count on.  With globalization and the ever-increasing pace of technological innovation, change is here to stay.  To ignore change can be ruinous to your career.  Rather, take note from my Navigating Change Successfully webinar, define the ideal outcome of change for your career and position yourself to make it happen.  This was my approach when my employer Arthur Andersen was going under with the Enron debacle.  Rather than wait and see if I'd have a job, I positioned myself for a new career in coaching by getting certification and starting my practice on the side.   Now 7 years later, I'm still looking for ways to leverage change to move my career and those of my clients forward.

--Build and maintain your network (and your skills) BEFORE you need them.  The secret to effective networking is giving help before your need it.  We often feel overstretched and too busy to focus on the needs of others so this very important aspect of networking falls away.  I coached many who "exhausted" their networks into reviving them by offering help rather than just asking for it.  In fact, one of the client success stories referred to above happened in part because my client had already been volunteering on the board of the nonprofit that eventually hired her.  Without her dedicated commitment to the organization before the job opened up, my client who did not have nonprofit experience, would not have even been considered for the job.  Because she proactively built her network, she's now in the job of her dreams!

--Sustainability is key to long-term job security: Rather than get caught up in the trendy "hot jobs" categories, look at the long-term viability of your chosen field.  In other words, does your work help make the world a better place or at least not harm it?  I'm not talking about just saving the whales; rather I'm talking about companies that produce quality content, products or services that add value to the bottom-line in a socially responsible way.  If you're not sure how sustainable your career path is, read here for the Fast Company Social Capitalist Awards for examples of individuals who see themselves and their organizations as part of the solution to our economic, environmental and social challenges for the long-term.  

As you ring in the New Year, try not to focus on what you lost this year but rather on what you gained. As Price Pritchett said, "Change always comes bearing gifts."  It is my wish for you that 2010 brings many gifts to you including a sustainable, career that makes you happy and successful beyond your wildest dreams.

Happy New Year from MMM Career Consulting! 

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