The term’s been used a lot during this winter of our discontent.  Snowmageddon.  Though it describes a kind of meteorological event, the way we react to and deal with them when they occur offers an important lesson for Career Activists.

Snowmageddons occur either in places not used to snow or in places that are but get more than they’re used to.  You’ve probably seen the pictures on the news and the Web.  Thousands of cars abandoned along the side of the road.  Kids camping out in their schools because they can’t get home.  Impassable streets, groaning power lines and shuttered stores.

What’s the common theme that defines many of these situations?  A failure to take two actions: pay attention and get prepared.  Snowmageddons have been most devastating when citizens and government officials don’t heed the warning signs and thus don’t take the necessary steps to minimize the danger and disruption.

That’s also what occurs in a careermageddon.  We don’t pay attention to the danger signs – the storm clouds roiling through our career field, industry or home town – and don’t prepare for the impact they are likely to have on our career security.  As a result, we’re forced to abandon our goals and camp out in uncomfortable and dissatisfying jobs.

It’s human nature, of course, to think that these disruptive storms will happen to everybody else but us.  Today, however, they are a near universal phenomenon.  From Seattle to Atlanta to Chicago to New York City and almost everywhere else in between, snow and career blizzards are whipsawing our lives and our work.

While snowmageddons are thought to be more prevalent because of climatic changes, the increase in careermageddons is driven by economic change brought about by accelerating technological change, the rise of global competitors, and ever more fickle consumers.  These forces will not be diminishing any time soon, so careermageddons are likely to be a common occurrence for the rest of our careers.

Now, some will counsel that the best course in the face of such environmental shift is simply to hunker down and hang on.  It’s not.  The best way to survive career blizzards is to do BEFORE the storms what many of us now do AFTER them.  Get unstuck and get moving.

Thanks for reading,