If you were thinking about transforming your career this year, you are not alone —currently about 9% of people change jobs (ONS, 2019). With more old jobs disappearing and new jobs emerging (check WEF “Future of Jobs”), it is expected that is that between 75 million and 375 million people additionally may need to consider up-skilling or switching careers in the next 5–10 years (McKinsey Global Institute).
The growing number of career changes (driven by personal desires or disappearing jobs) leads to an emerging trend of having 5–7 careers during your lifetime (FT), so if you are considering to change your career — you better watch and learn — as it won’t be the last time you are doing that!
Career adaptability is the capability of an individual to make a series of successful transitions where the labor market, organisation of work and underlying occupational and organisational knowledge bases may all be subject to considerable change.
Career adaptability plays a crucial role in successful labor market transitions of mid-career changers that need to deal with risk and uncertainty in the fast changing world (meta-analysis).
5C of career adaptability are control (increasing influence on career situations), curiosity, commitment, confidence (self-belief) and concern (a positive and optimistic attitude to the future). They all may be learned and practiced on the job (stretch assignments, learning through others, networking, exploration, etc — more on that in our next articles).
Academic research reveals people take one to two years before making a career change. Based on another research, the average person who switches careers is 39 years old (and not 16–24 as people believe) and it takes around 11 months to get a new role.
With the timelines like this, it’s only logical to feel anxious and lost. However, positive attitude is one of the important predictors of success.
Career adaptability (from above) is directly fuelled by several things:
2. Adapting responses: planning, exploration, self-efficacy;
3. Adaptation results: self-reported work performance, entrepreneurial outcomes, life satisfaction, and positive and negative affect.
And as we know from The Growth Mindset book (summary), brain plasticity does exist and the characteristics of our abilities are not exactly fixed, yay!
Remember your last small talk at a party: most likely you’ve had a quick exchange related to your profession. We define ourselves by our work: “I am a product manager/consultant/marketer.” It means that by even only thinking about a potential change, we create a possibility for us to lose a sense of identity we have invested a lot of years in.
However, we are not able to understand in advance what the new working identity will be, so the only way to move forward is to act our way into a new way of thinking and being (more on that in our next articles).
“Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.” — Steve Jobs