Job Security Is Gone; Here are 3 Ways to Succeed in Your Career Regardless

Job Security Is Gone; Here are 3 Ways to Succeed in Your Career Regardless
From Recruiter - October 7, 2016

In the two previous articles of this series (No More Climbing the Corporate Ladderand Managing the Future of Your Career), we explored how the world of work has changed and the ways in which successful leaders and executives had adapted.

Today, well sum it all up by looking at the three major takeaways from our survey of 50 thriving senior executives: traverse with your edge, master your affiliation needs, and learn the differencebetween provincial and cosmopolitan knowledge.

Lesson No. 1: Traverse With Your Edge

As we mentioned in No More Climbing the Corporate Ladder,traverse is a skiing term that means to lead with the edge of your skis. Your ski edge gives you maneuverability.

In career traversing, you lead with your skills edge. Your edge gives you maneuverability through different terrains. Here is an example of traversing from the career of James, one of the 50 executives we spoke with:

After receiving his MBA from Columbia University, James went into banking. Various assignments at Mellon Bank and Bank of America eventually led to James being hired as President and CEO of a California bank.

In 2009, Jamess bank was acquired and he was without employment. There was a consolidation of banks, so career continuation was impossible. James created a one-person consulting firm with aninitial focus on what he calls credit-dependent companies. Using his personal relationships with West Coast bank presidents, James was able to negotiate settlements so that both sides could have something of value.

By 2013, the recession hadended, and one of James clients came to him for consulting assistance. The consultingopportunity led to an offer to become chief operating officer of the clients organization. Jamess assignment as COO was to double the size of the medical products distribution company and then sell the company to a national player. This assignment was completed within eighteen months.

Once again, James opened his consulting practice. One of his clients was a nonprofit organization. This consulting assignment brought him exposure to new areas like fund raising and working with agencies in Washington, D.C. This assignment was completed after two years. The contacts James developed brought him to the notice of a board member of a nonprofit company in his town. James was offered the position of chief executive officer for a California human services organization with a budget of $265 million.

As you can see, James has been a bank president, a distribution company COO, and a nonprofit CEO. Between these W-2 employment assignments, he worked as a consultant on a project-by-project basis.It was his 1099 assignments that led him to the W-2 assignments.

If you view Jamess career from a ladder-climbers perspective, heappears to have had a hodgepodge career. But that is not how James seesit:

I have centered my professional life on one strong theme: I solve financial and organizational problems from the perspective of a banker. Had I identified myself as a banker, my goose would have been cooked as the banking industry continued its consolidation. Instead, I have worked with medical products, retail companies, construction companies, and a giftware company. It has been fun, a real learning experience. But my core identity remains the same. It never changes: I solve financial and organizational problems from the perspective of a banker.

Ted is another executive we spoke with whose career offers a great example of traversing with your skills edge:

Ted began his IT career working with a variety of large corporations. Five years later, he moved to a technology consulting firm. Teds success as a consultant in an assignment involving ocean cargo issues led to an opportunity to become chief information officer for a company in the ocean freight transportation industry. Five years later, he was once again consulting. Hisconsulting assignments helped him gain credibility in the financial services sector, and Ted is now CIO for a global financial services company.

In commenting on his professional life, Ted describes his edge as a constant even while hisassignments changed continuously: My skills are coaching and developing people in technical environments. Internal or external, I use the same tools. I just apply those tools in different ways.

Lesson No. 2:Master Your Affiliation Needs

Affiliation is the desire to be an integral part of something larger than yourself. That something could be as small as a team that will finish a project this month or as large as an institution with amission tomake the world a better place.

In the W-2 phase of a career, moderate degrees of affiliation are helpful; you are part of a corporate team. When you are in the 1099 phase, however, you are not really part of a clients team. You are helping a team for a period of time, and then you leave.

How do you manage your affiliation needs and your professional relationships when you are traversing between W-2 and 1099 assignments?

The answer is to focus on professional associations to meet your affiliation needs. Professional associations are work-related reference groups outsideof any specific corporation. These reference groups can focus on function/profession (e.g., American Psychological Association, Financial Executives International, American Marketing Association); industry (American Bar Association, Massachusetts Biotech Council); or geography (Chicago Chamber of Commerce, Downtown Crossing Association of Boston).


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