Is this the “Control, Alt, Delete” Moment in your Career?

Those of you who follow my posts know that the first half of this year has been humbling relative to those who have been riffed, downsized, or have simply made the decision that where they were is not where they want to be. Folks are waking up to their new reality: could this be the control, alt, delete moment in my career? Do I need to totally and truly re-invent myself to become more relevant and marketable?

Well, there have been thousands – yes, literally thousands – of books addressing that very question. In fact, there is a book by the very title: “Control, Alt, Delete” that argues the criticality of digitizing not only what your business does, but also how you position and sell yourself digitally. The author of this book provides a nice road map for outlining the importance of social media in our world today; yet, he does not focus on the ‘ah-ha’s’ for those individuals who find themselves not where they thought they would be.

My second book, coming out later this fall, will in fact discuss this mid-life (or college graduate!!) epiphany in detail; however, for today’s post, I want to conjure up discussion about how we truly think about work in today’s arena.

Technology, telecommuting, and talent-shifts are completely changing the way we think about work and therefore, what is ultimately attractive and in demand in today’s workplace. Let’s come to strong grips with this folks: this is not work as we defined it 20 years ago, 10 years ago, or even 1 year go! A few thoughts – which should not come as much of a surprise – to consider as you enter into the second half of the year…and perhaps to some, the second half of your life.

  • Corporate stability is a myth. As much as we would love to hover in the mother ship, with the health benefits, matching 401k’s, and executive perks, one harsh fact remains: we are only as safe as the company for which we work. AND, our professional future is 100% dependent on the company’s growth trajectory. There is a fabulous book entitled “Rebooting Work”, which re-frames the way we think about work AND where we work. The battleships of corporate America are sinking at an alarming rate. Harsh – yet true – and if you don’t believe me, just look around at giants who are falling from grace due to missteps in this highly competitive market:  JCPenney, Sprint-Nextel, and Barnes & Noble – to name only 3 on Huffington’s list of 9! There is no sure thing anywhere. So what do we do about that? Well…net:
  • We own it. At the end of the day, our corporate employers owe us nothing. If we put all our eggs in one basket, when that basket does not bring us to the Promised Land, then we can blame no one but ourselves. We must keep our network outside the company JUST AS FRESH as the one inside our company. We are insular at our own peril. I have written several blogs on how to stay relevant and top of mind in today’s world – whether you are a corporate executive, individual contributor, or fledgling entrepreneur. You can go to my blog site to find many blogs which cover brand, the ‘x-factor’ in business, and other topics which can help you stand out in a crowded field. Regardless, we are ultimately responsible for our careers…how we bend, sway, respond, and rebound will dictate our end game.
  • Unhappy? Well, you have come to a fork in the road. I have a few clients who are simply miserable in their jobs. There is no sugar coating it. They feel under appreciated, de-valued, or they simply don’t feel they are getting what they deserve in pay, title, recognition, or progression. Well, welcome to the world of “life is not always fair.” The choice is this: ask yourself, “what makes me so desirable…I mean, would I hire me?” and “what is it that everybody else is doing that I am not doing?” Whew…the answers to those two questions, though possibly painful to answer, will steer you in the right direction. AND if at that point you have the clear ‘ah-ha’ that says, “what am I still doing here?! I don’t fit anymore. I have no future here!!’ then TAKE THE REINS.

As Pollyanna as this may sound, there is an entire world of opportunity out there. Sure – truly being the master of your own destiny is tougher than one thinks. Yet, remember, you are the master of your own destiny within or outside a company. If the decision is made to move forward, you will no longer be on the corporate train. Yet, how liberating to know that you have an open field in which to play.

From my perspective, we cannot only think about our jobs, our work, our careers, and even our lives as only where we are right now…we need to change the frame to where we want to be, how we want to contribute. Being present in the moment, as I wrote about in my first book, means embracing each and every minute and experience in its full potency. AND it also means we listen to those inner voices which are whispering in our ears...then we must heed the message.

5 responses to “Is this the “Control, Alt, Delete” Moment in your Career?

  1. Hard truths, but truths non the less. One other point – your internal stability in any corporation is only as solid as the people you work for. Any kind of change in leadership can bring about changes in expectations and political alliances. There’s an old adage that “new brooms sweep clean” and that is particularly true in corporations. Anyone who hasn’t gone through this kind of epiphany yet isn’t far away from it and would be wise to be proactive and listen to those whispering voices. Networking outside of your current employer is critical. I look forward to your new book!

  2. Having gone through “downsizing personally, I can say “Amen” to your points. I have also learned a few things along the way:
    1. The only security in the corporate world is what you make for yourself.
    2. Take opportunity of any relevant continuing educational program that your current employer will fund. What’s between your ears walks out the door with you. They can’t have a “payback” clause on personal knowledge.
    3. NETWORK-NETWORK-NETWORK. Volunteer for any relevant company opportunity that showcases the company AND you in the marketplace. Volunteer to write articles in your expertise. Volunteer to be the company representative on non-profit boards and professional societies/organizations. New member and fund raising positions are extremely valuable. You will be in touch with decision makers in those organizations. Welcome speaking engagements to industry events.
    Try to do at least one activity a week that helps promote YOU in the community. The company will see you as an engaged “DOER”. You will actually be showcasing your talents to others at the same time.

  3. WOW – thank you for your incredible insights and wise counsel. We have ALL been there AND I can assure you, if you have not felt ‘uncertain’ about your future professionally, you will.

    The journey starts and ends with us…..with much support from Above, Around, and Within. Yet… the end – we own our attitudes, our behaviors, and our choices….NET: we own it!

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