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Tactics to Manage Your Career in an Uncertain World

For the last two years uncertainty has surrounded us all. From a global pandemic, climate change, the war in Ukraine, global supply chain issues to rising economic concerns, there is clearly an overload of chaotic circumstances all around us.

With the impact these challenges have on all facets of business and government, it is no wonder that there is a shift in people’s perception of job security, direction and availability of opportunities. At MWA, we work with professionals and their careers every day. We see some who limit risk and avoid change, some who want to reach out and proactively get ahead of any looming changes and those who seem relatively unaffected. Whichever view you hold, we have gathered a few tips below to support career management in an uncertain world.

 

Reframe Your Perspective

This not about looking at the world through rose-tinted glasses, instead reframing is consciously thinking about how we process events. There is a clear limit to the degree we can alter our perception of significantly challenging events, but when we start changing how we see uncertainty, we begin changing our response. There is no surprise that higher levels of optimism are associated with improved well-being (1). Changes and new challenges may bring about confusion and stress but they could also present an opportunity to develop new skills, learn and meet new people. Reframing your perspective could harness the adaptive power of optimism (1).

 

Build Resilience

As a key life skill, building resilience can have significant benefits in the workplace and beyond. Research has repeatedly highlighted a wide range of advantageous benefits with greater resilience including: improved well-being, self-esteem, optimism and adaptation as well as coping strategies for stressors in the workplace (2). A recent article on resilience explored a framework for building resilience through skills. The authors presented the following framework which encompasses a range of skill building, from emotional prioritisation to social support, emotional awareness, self-care and optimistic thinking (2).

 

Figure 1: Key skills in building resilience using the Skills-Based Model, presented by Baker et al 2021.

 

Network

Now is a great time to be social and engage in building existing and new professional connections. Attending conferences, seminars or professional events, ‘linking in’ with old colleagues and maybe even reaching out to recruitment professionals. At MWA, we welcome new conversations with professionals in the IP world whether this is just an introductory conversation, a chance to hear what the market is looking like, or a time to discuss preparations for your next career move – be this in a few months or a few years. Connecting with professionals in the industry is a great way to hear about opportunities, stay up to date on industry-wide changes and lay the foundation to potentially fruitful relationships.

 

Preparation: Get Ahead

Uncertain times offer an opportunity for us to reflect on our careers and prepare for the future, whatever this may be. Revisit your CV, keep a log of recent career accomplishments, track your impacts at work and have this information to hand should you need it.

 

In the world of IP, we are fortunate that innovation remains the cornerstone of most industries so the impact of uncertain times should cause relatively few ripples within the industry. However, with a few adaptations uncertainty does not need to be limiting. Uncertainty might even be an opportunity.

 

References:

(1) Optimism Is Universal: Exploring the Presence and Benefits of Optimism in a Representative Sample of the World. Gallagher et al (2013). Journal of Personality, Wiley Periodicals. https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Matthew-Gallagher-8/publication/233956807_Optimism_Is_Universal_Exploring_the_Presence_and_Benefits_of_Optimism_in_a_Representative_Sample_of_the_World/links/5be34886a6fdcc3a8dc64c54/Optimism-Is-Universal-Exploring-the-Presence-and-Benefits-of-Optimism-in-a-Representative-Sample-of-the-World.pdf

(2) Introducing the skills-based model of personal resilience: drawing on content and process factors to build resilience in the workplace. Baker et al (2021). Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology. Wiley. https://www.academia.edu/45064456/Introducing_the_skills_based_model_of_personal_resilience_drawing_on_content_and_process_factors_to_build_resilience_in_the_workplace

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