A recent survey by eFinancialCareers found a surprising shift in the career outlook of financial professionals. A whopping two-thirds of the respondents said they would be willing to abandon the go-go, money-is-everything environment of Wall Street for a career in the now emerging field of regulatory oversight. In other words, they put their finger in the air and found their career prospects in overseeing the financial services industry to be equal to or better than those they had while working in the industry. How about that for a change in perspective?
This development is part of a trend that is far larger than the financial services industry. In career field after career field, both working professionals and those in transition are being forced to take a squinty-eyed look at the future prospects of their current occupation. Today’s lingering recession and the “less jobs” recovery it will precipitate is forcing many of us to reexamine workplace assumptions we once cherished as sacrosanct and employment goals we once thought were a lock. The world of work we knew and counted on has suddenly and irrevocably become an unfamiliar and unpredictable place.
How do you survive in such a seemingly unstable environment?
Emulate your peers in the financial services sector. Give yourself permission to look around. Think beyond the boundaries of what’s always been and what you thought would always be.
Sure, such independence can be intimidating, especially at first. The feeling is not unlike your inaugural time alone behind the wheel of a car. It was liberating to be in charge of setting your own direction and more than a little nerve wracking getting yourself and the car to wherever you were going, all in one piece. But you did. And you can—indeed, you must—for your career, as well.
In today’s constantly roiling workplace, you must:
• climb behind the wheel of your career and set it into motion
• determine the best route to take and set off in that direction.
You can decide that your prospects warrant staying on the same path you’ve always followed or, as is apparently the case with many financial professionals, you can chose to take an entirely different route. Either way, the choice is yours and only you should make it.
Those two act—taking the controls and taking off—enable you to motor with your career. Think of it as hitting the open highway in the workplace. It’s a quintessentially American act—full of independence and self determination. You’re Jack Kerouac on the road in today’s world of work. You’re in the driver’s seat in your career and you’re setting off in search of the American Dream.
As the word implies, however, motoring is not a one-off event. It’s a passage. On the road, you hit detours, roadblocks, heavy traffic and more, so you must continuously adjust your course to find the best way forward. In your careers, you will also take a wrong turn or come to a dead end from time-to-time—after all, the 21st Century workplace is an unfamiliar neighborhood—so you’ll have to reassess your position regularly and make whatever changes are necessary to keep you moving forward.
Your drive is often cited as a key component of career success. It denotes the all important attributes of ambition and determination. Important as those characteristics are, however, they are insufficient to preserve your wellbeing in today’s world of work. What’s needed, as well, is action or what might be described as motoring with your career—setting out on the road to meaningful and rewarding work.
Thanks for reading,