Saturday, July 12, 2008

Practicing What I Preach

I have been holding out on making an announcement, as I know it is only prudent not to count chickens before they are hatched. But next week, I will be leaving a most gratifying job, and moving on to a new challenge.

Though the title of this blog reflects my current job title as Career Counselor, as well as my master's degree specialization, my new title will be Vocational Evaluator. I will still be offering what I feel I do best, which is to provide career counseling services, but I will also be using a lot more assessments as a main tool for evaluating people who need assistance reincorporating themselves back into the workforce. This was a difficult transition, as the job I am leaving has been spectacular. So why would I leave a job that I absolutely love?

Truthfully, I have never provided counseling service to people who love their jobs. People typically come to career counselors for assistance finding jobs or getting out of jobs that they do not like. Still, whenever I meet with people, it is not uncommon for me to tell them that their job search should never end. One of the biggest career development follies is that once people find something, they then allow themselves to get comfortable and wait until conditions are less than favorable before they make their next move. Though you may be one of the few that lands into something that exists and continues to be fulfilling throughout your career lifetime, most people should stay focused on their professional development and be ready to leave their positions at any given moment. Savvy professionals must vigilantly stay ahead of the curve by always looking for the next step--and always being ready for that matter. As John Wooden said (to my recollection): When opportunity strikes, it is already too late.

When was the last time you updated your resume? Do you maintain your network contacts and/or are building up new ones? Do you know what the present job market looks like? If the work in your industry dried up or got over saturated, would you know what you might transition to--and would you be prepared? These questions might frighten you, but I assure you they are much more frightening when the ground you are standing on gets pulled from under your feet.

I am actually glad I was prepared and decided to make my move. This move ended up being fortuitous indeed. One week after I gave my notice, my organization had its annual meeting. Our nonprofit fundraising had been impacted by the economy, and they are going to have to make major budget cuts, including possible layoffs. Though I think my position would have been secured if I stayed, it is nice knowing that I will not have to deal with that insecurity, and I will also escape the overall impact this will have on the organizational workload and morale.

I did not see that coming, but my proactivity prevented me from being blindsided, and now I will move to a position in an organization that is growing, and will geometrically increase my knowledge of career assessments, among other things.

If you love your job, do show that you are eager to stay. But, for your own sake always be ready to go. Are you ready?

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