Eight simple steps to a new career direction

Spectrum Magazine (published by IBOA) – Eleanor Murphy (August 2011)

In a very short space of time, a career in banking has changed from being a secure ‘job for life’ to one of uncertainty and doubt. More and more, I meet bank officials who have already been made redundant – or others who feel that this might be an appropriate time to explore other avenues – and perhaps enjoy greater security in the process.

The trauma of losing a job or even the prospect of possible job loss – is devastating. Feelings of despair, helplessness and grief are understandable – perhaps even anger, embarrassment and fear. And in this spiral of anxiety and depression, contemplating future employment is virtually impossible.
If you find yourself in this position, you have two choices. You can sit back, do nothing and remain negative. Or sit up, be proactive and fight back. It’s your call. Your future starts here – today. It’s time to change your thinking. Here’s a challenging thought for you. Opportunity for reflection Could you regard redundancy as a potential gift rather than as a heartbreak?

Could this be the chance to take a good hard look at yourself and ask if you’ve truly been working in a job that has best suited you, or that has used your talents and skills to the best effect?

Most of us can get so focused on the day-to-day routine of doing our job to the best of our
ability that we fail to take the time to ask ourselves these big, important questions.

Here are eight simple steps that you can take to help you write the next exciting chapter in your career story. If you feel overwhelmed by all this, but still have the fire in your heart, then seek professional assistance.

Maybe some guidance or a sense of direction is all you need? Or perhaps you may need more
in-depth analysis of your core skills and abilities. A final thought is that you contact a coach or mentor to advise you on how best to nurture your career quest.
But whatever course of action you plan to take, make it sooner rather than later. Better
still, make it today!

1) Harness positivity and increase your productivity.

Manage your job loss in a systematic way. It will increase your chances of embarking on a successful career change.

2) Get rid of any negative thoughts that will drag you down.

They will only become embedded in your subconscious and undermine your confidence.
Instead, adopt a good, positive mental attitude which is the key to future career success.

3) Know yourself.

Know your core strengths, your abilities, your skills, your values, your interests, etc. By looking at your strengths, your values and your past successes, you will begin to feel more positive.

4) Have a vision.

Dream your ideal job. What would you really love to do? Be as imaginative as you want, but keep your
strengths, your values, your interests and your skills in focus. Maybe you have hidden talents. What kind of work environment suits you – working outdoors, working on your own, meeting new people?

5) Devise an action plan.

See where it is that you would love to be in one, two or five years’ time – even right up to retirement.
Build a bridge between where you are now and where you want to be. Have you the necessary skills, the competencies, the right attitude? Do you need to get your CV in order? Who will give you that information? Could you do voluntary work in a similar environment? Could you work from home?
Do you need computer skills? The questions are quite numerous – but must be addressed.

6) Get informed.

Change always seems scarier when you have either inadequate – or worse – inaccurate information.
Research the internet, go to the local library, join relevant bodies – especially the ones that engage your interests. Talk to people who have started similar jobs or businesses, trained on similar courses, etc. Read relevant articles, publications, etc. The more informed you are, the more solid your bridge.

7) Take advantage of all training and educational opportunities.

Consider online courses. Maybe a degree was always on your radar but you never had the chance to consider it further. Ensure that the courses are right for you, at the right level, and form part of your building blocks to your future career success. Also, consider informal ways of educating yourself
by, for example, joining professional bodies, attending workshops and keeping up with trade publications in your field.

8) Update your CV, polish your interviewing skills and ensure you network.

Networking is a great way of finding out what jobs are out there that may not necessarily be publicly
advertised, and you’ll need to have your CV and interview skills up to scratch if the chance arises.
You also may need to consider taking an interim job, like temporary work or consulting, or just a simple job to pay the bills while you are developing your new career path.