The world has changed. Today, our career is the sum total of all our jobs, our education, and our life roles. Planning the career has become an ongoing work in progress. Knowing how to plan our career is an important skill (Alis.alberta.ca, 2018).
A breakthrough study published in The Economic Journal titled ‘Lags and Leads in Life Satisfaction: A Test of the Baseline Hypothesis’ revealed that unemployment might be the only major life event from which people do not fully recover within five years. This study followed 130,000 people for several decades, allowing researchers to look at the way major life events such as marriage, divorce, birth of a child, or death of a spouse affect our life satisfaction over time.
Interestingly the study also states that during significant catastrophic events like death of near and dear ones, people recover faster than while compared to the timelines of being unemployed. The researcher posed the question, “How satisfied are you with your life, all things considered?” to people in six labor markets considering the family events that occur to a number of the sample members over 5 years. The general events were entry into unemployment, marriage, divorce, widowhood, birth of the first child, and layoff. The incidence of these life events were calculated directly from the panel data, rather than using retrospective information. The study revealed our well-being actually recovers more rapidly from the death of a spouse than it does from a sustained period of unemployment.
It is pertinent to note that unemployment, which is caused by the market disruptions and individual performance, can affect the social, financial, community and health wellbeing of any individual. One of the major reasons for depression, social isolation, shattered relationships followed by career sabotages is the inability to establish the cross connection or linkages between the elements. People often treat career, family, community etc. as different identities, torrenting the workplace stress and burning out to their relationships and social lifestyle.
The regression results from the study showed that contemporaneous unemployment is associated with significant lower wellbeing.
In New York Times bestseller Wellbeing: The Five Essential Elements, Gallup presents a holistic view of what contributes to one’s well being over a lifetime. Gallup states that being laid off from a job in the last year did not result in any significant long-term changes, even though it can trigger social isolation and negative thoughts. The key is to avoid sustained periods of unemployment (more than a year) when some is actively looking for a job but is unable to find one. In addition to the obvious loss of income from prolonged unemployment, the lack of regular social contact and the daily boredom might be even more detrimental to the well-being.
Why does the study pick up relevance now?
The technological boom that shifted the structure of the labor market during the Industrial Revolution was not a one time radical change – it is a continuous radical change process, than continuous intermittent change, rightly disrupting the societal strata. Thanks to job polarization, emerging markets and migration, knowledge and technology market trends that pushed even job security and stability to the bottom ranks while making career growth and multicultural experience the higher ranks in the chart. Plus the pace of the international capital flow to emerging markets to strengthen digital capabilities demanded upskilling and reskilling of existing workforce. People couldn’t realize the fact that their career, or what they did to earn, impacts each and every area of their life. The best way to normalize this chaos is to identify the factors that impact your aspirations or life goals.
What caused the cross impact (of one element) on the holistic wellbeing of a person?
Career development moved from a single identity to a multi-identity process taking all aspects of family, friends, and community into account. Industry and market dynamics, changing perceptions and skill sets, culture and network influence career to a larger extent.
In the past, people often treated their career as a separate factor and as something that didn’t have an impact on other areas of life. Also, life events that can be planned, like moving to another country, acquiring a university qualification, parenthood etc. were soldiered by very few during career planning. The focus was on a successful career which was measured by metrics of money, title, fame, status etc. The world outside moved from success to fulfillment and career become crosslinked with every area of life. Identifying factors which will contribute positively to aspirations during all setbacks was something which people couldn’t envision.
How to balance the wellbeing factor?
A well-structured timeline can help you stay true to yourself. It is all about visualizing your “Future Career Experience.” If you are able to visualize your future career path and plot it on the timeline, you are definitely going to achieve the same. List down important milestones you have to achieve on a timeline and work towards them. Pause and celebrate once you have achieved those milestones/steps.
Your career goals are the result of your aspiration and inspirations. All of your achievements are the result of the balanced combination of both. Everyone has got aspirations in life for what they want to become. What they lack in inspiration is the ability to find the sources for the growth. The primary focus of CAREER FAST™ model is to help identify the factors on your career wellbeing and align those with other wellbeing factors, while the secondary focus is to keep your aspiration and inspiration in a systematic way so that your ability to measure your success and progress is enhanced.
Another challenge people face when they get coaching or consultation from others is the never-ending goals exercise or worksheets, which makes the process of plotting career goals a boring one. Even though the results are so appealing, people started to drop their interest in the process and mostly they don’t make it to the goals.
What is CAREER FAST™ Model?
CAREER FAST™ is the result of two years of research over 100+ People. It helps you identify the key factors/activities you have to do over a period of time to reach your ultimate career goal. The model is integrated with all wellbeing factors to ensure that you have enough support system to progress towards your aspirations. The concept here is “Growing Goals.” Any setbacks like loss of job, loss of income or workplace challenges can be neutralized with the help of the model, as it helps you to identify and cross align with your objectives/goals.
CAREER FAST™ has got three specific pillars:
- Facilitators: Facilitators are the associations you need to have to experience the career. These can be the organizations you work with, internships you pursue to learn more about the desired career. Remember, Facilitators keep on changing when you move between organizations to enhance your career. Once you consider organizations as facilitators, workplace burn outs, restructuring, role specific enhancements will not affect you.
- Accelerators: Accelerators are the specific qualifications, job shadowing or peer learning etc. which will add to your expertise. These qualifications or specific education will help you to reach your goals faster. Trade-based certifications, functional qualifications accelerates your path to achieve your goals
- Sustainers: Sustainers are the third pillar which is super important for a successful career. People go through a lot of chaos at workplace and in the disruptive market which can derail their career aspirations. Sustainers are the factors you will go back and look for support. Sustainers can be your family, your fellowship, your network, friends, personal coach or the community you live. Sustainers or Sustainable factors are pooled from the “Triangle of Career Excellence (TOCE™)” Model. Family, Experience, and Culture forms the three nodes of the triangle
Timeline: All of these three pillars are plotted on a sheet against the timeline. It should not be more than one page and ensure you are adding only key strategies to reach the goal. Activities, Actions, and Tasks are not included at this stage.
How identifying the factors will positively contribute to the holistic wellbeing?
Our work and personal priorities usually get mixed up and changes accordingly. People generally experience drastic and dramatic changes. Just think about the impact of moving to a new place or getting married, on your career and life, which was not in the plan. Life Long Career planning with CAREER FAST™ helps ensure that your plans reflect your priorities at every stage of your life. Career FAST act as a support system which will help you to manage the chaos within your circles and realign your priorities to the visualized goal. Setbacks will not impact your growth since you have taken the factors into account.
CAREER FAST™ can put you in charge of the changes in your life and work.
By Anson Jerrin Mathews
Anson is an award winning People and Organization Development Practitioner who helps organizations and communities to grow and nurture people. He regularly speaks at the HR Summits, Conferences and Business Institutes across the Asia Pacific and MENA region. His expertise lies in Career Development and Transition where he has coached and trained more than 35+ nationalities. He was recognized as the Top 25 Game Changers in the world by US Work Force Magazine in 2017.