Career change
Career change

In the face of the Icy Gales of Change: When last did you consider changing jobs?

Why on earth?

You might well doubt my sanity. Given the current economic circumstances the only sane thing to do is to keep your head down, your nose clean and not to make unnecessary eye contact with the Person Who Has The Power To Fire You – particularly on a Monday. Do what you must. Do what you can and then a bit more, but not too much to attract attention to your existence.


Yes. Times are tough. New work opportunities in traditional fields are scarce and vanishing faster than your savings. Maybe you have always considered Work your Happy Place. The one place where you know what is expected of you and feel a sense of accomplishment. Times are changing and whilst revisiting your Curriculum Vitae does not necessarily mean leaving the (work) nest, it may surprise you. It may scare you, yes, or it may unexpectedly energise you!

Future-proofing your career

Whilst you are busy looking for your CV, consider this question: what do you know about new ideas or trends in your field? Do you like where things are going? Are you equipped for the future?

Many of us have nervously been eyeing the beast lurking in the shadows. It is called the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Artificial Intelligence in our microwaves that send reports back to the Mother Ship and robots turning rogue and enslaving us scare us. That’s why there are so many movies about it.

Will smart technology be a friend or a foe? Full of distrust, we have delayed interacting with the unknown. We’re scared it will bite, so we close our eyes and stick our fingers in our ears whilst we sing. Will this help though?


Corona opened the door without knocking and unceremoniously brought it to your doorstep the moment you were told you have to work from home. How do you feel about that – now? How likely is it that this is a temporary thing or a longer-term reality? Would you like it to be an option?

Some of the things that have changed for many of us:

  • Job roles and functions
    A lot of job roles/functions seemed to have become redundant overnight. However, many have not disappeared entirely, but have been added to the workloads of other workers. To what degree do you think this has happened in your industry? Your workplace? Is this reflected in your job description? Does your boss even realise this?

  • Work and company environments
    Research shows that many people are more productive when they work remotely and job satisfaction is higher – as long as there are opportunities for occasional group interaction. This has to be built into the way we work digitally, so chances are your boss may not think this is important! Creativity, on the other hand, often needs synergy – ideas being energetically bounced around between team members. This may be harder over the Internet. How does this sit with you?

  • The importance of loyalty has changed
    Though a trend observed prior to lockdown, it seems even more relevant now. Long-term service at one company used to be an indicator of good character and dependability. Today, some employers may wonder about your levels of motivation, commitment to professional growth, leadership capacity and drive.


We don’t want you living by default

Too many of us just ‘keep on keeping on’. We live by default. We studied something safe – as was expected of us. We took a safe job – as was expected of us. Some of us got married and raised children – as was expected of us. We contributed to a pension scheme – as was expected of us. We pushed all of our more audacious dreams aside, to be explored in those mythical Golden Years.

As the world of work slowly opens up again, do you even WANT to return to the rat race? Or at least engage with it in the manner you did before? Which priorities and needs have shifted for you? Perhaps professional advancement and job security have become more valuable to you. Perhaps you wish to work smarter with your resources. Maybe you want your work to make a difference in the world.


Perhaps it isn’t a choice

Perhaps your business is not going to be able to withstand this deep economic winter. Maybe your job will be given to a robot in the next few years and you have to reconsider your options.

The good news

They (with a capital T) say that 40 is the new 30. Advances in health care have meant that we can do more for longer (including stressing about the future and getting bored). One of the key indicators of good mental health, when faced with ageing, is the ability to remain flexible. To dance on the proverbial shifting carpet. Learning new skills preserves brain elasticity. We need this if we want to keep our minds present with us on the (now expected) hundred-year journey of the body.

How to shift gears

You wake up in a cold sweat in the middle of the night. You stare into the dark abyss and wonder: what will happen to me? If only ... and ‘round and ‘round you go until you drift off … just so that your alarm can cruelly scream at you to face reality. There are two things to guard against:

  • Prince(ss) held captive in the tower
    This is a bit like your own version of this fairytale. Do you also secretly dream of a Prince(ss) on the White Horse? A gender stereotype, I know, but do you ever tell yourself:
    • One day when I have enough money, I'll be able to quit my job and do what love
    • If only I had a few uninterrupted hours to activate potential connections (read: send out distress signals to prospective Princess)
    • I'm not ready to take that course yet, but maybe in six months things will be better

  • Analysis paralysis
    Do you own a bookshelf worth of books on self-development books and how to be an entrepreneur? (I won't ask you if you have actually read them!) Do you read articles like this to prepare yourself for the Big Shift, one day? I think this is akin to the Prince(ss) in the Tower studying different languages, so that s/he will be able to communicate with the Prince(ss) in her/his own language. You are no closer to getting out of the tower, are you?

So what CAN you do?

  • Give up
    Not on your ideas but your ideals – the thoughts of the One Miraculous Moment where you take the leap out of the window in a moment of great courage and spread the wings you made from your bedsheet and some toothpicks. (YouTube videos are wonderful that way.)

  • ‘Success in 70 000 Miniscule Steps’ does not sound like a best seller book
    Our biggest enemy is ourselves. We will never have enough time or money or friends in high places. So stop arguing with yourself! Just do one small thing – you know? For fun. What is the harm in that? In your lunch-break, you may look up some websites that offer the kinds of services you dream of. Look at the ‘careers’ section and see what kind of positions are open and what you would need to get a foot in the door…

  • Tame adventures
    Become an intrepid explorer. Go on Safari – people love showing off their kingdoms! You’ll be surprised how keen people are to talk about their journeys and their dreams for the future.

  • Find a guide in the wilderness
    This may be a person currently working in whatever field you are interested in, but be mindful of restrictions on their time. Someone who has retired may have a lot of wisdom to share and you may do them some good, too.

    Once you are ready, you can consider investing time, energy and resources into a relationship with someone who can coach you, keep you accountable and problem-solve the way forward. Life or business coaches abound. At Northwood Financial Services we offer year-long coaching services for Entrepreneurs.

  • Sweat equity and school fees
    Not everything is about money. You may decide to volunteer at an organisation so that you can give back to your community and find meaning in your life. You may exchange labour for skills training. If youngsters can ‘job shadow’ why can’t you? If you like what you see, try out a few free courses on the web. If that inspires you, consider paying for some more…

  • Map possible futures
    The good thing about taking the 70 000 steps approach is that you take the pressure off yourself to find that One Brilliant Opportunity. You can experiment and explore. Investigate different avenues.

    Should you find that you have reached a dead-end, instead of feeling crushed, you can feel relieved! Do take stock and write down what you have learnt. Maybe you dreamed of rescuing and cleaning penguins until you met them. They are wild animals. They bite. They smell. They are not particularly grateful! What will you try next?

Final Words

A clever and sometimes annoyingly positive person once said; ‘ waiting for motivation before you take action is like shouting "GO!” at a stationary car.’ Be your own Prince(ss) on a White Horse. Flex your curiosity muscle and suspend your Inner Critic without pay. Seriously though, can you afford not to?

A Whale-bus as a means to cross the Atlantic! Certainly some of the future predictions made by the French commercial artist Jean-Marc Côté and his team at the 1900s World’s Fair ‘Exposition Universelle’ were strange, indeed! The same can be said for the predictions made by many futurists throughout the ages. Frederick Edwin Smith, who became the Earl of Birkenhead in 1922, wrote a whole book on this topic. However, the key concept here is that only ‘some’ ideas were far-fetched.

The thought of getting old leaves many of us cold. We use euphemisms like Golden Years and Senior Citizens and Mature to make it sound appealing, but there is no getting around the fact that ageing is generally painful. But here you are, brave and ready to get ready for it!

A degree is not a guarantee. The unemployment rates of youth and recent graduates are at shockingly high levels and with the current shrinkages in the economy, it is not going to get better for a long while.

The passage of time seems to be such a fractured thing right now and it isn’t going to stop being so any time soon. It feels like we have been stuck in this time warp for such a long time that we cannot even tell how many days we have been under lockdown. Nothing is as it was, or ever will be again, yet every day seems to bleed into the next, without clear boundaries; beginnings and endings.

Contact Northwood Finance

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Career change
Career change
Career change
Career change
Career change
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