December 26, 2013
The only career resolution you need to make
This is the time of year you see headlines like "10 New Year's resolutions for your career," followed by a list of pretty good suggestions such as, "I will answer all email within 24 hours," or "I will stop procrastinating," or "I will have better work/life balance."
But you know what? There is really only one action you need to take to improve your career, and your life: Create a Plan B.
You need a Plan B because, in case you haven't noticed, the world is constantly changing. Your industry, your company, your job could disappear or could be radically transformed in the twinkling of an eye.
It sounds scary, but you don't need to be afraid if you have positioned yourself to land on your feet in the event that everything you have going for you goes up in a poof of smoke.
Start by thinking strategically. How could your experience and expertise be transferred to other companies or other industries? What classes could you take or certifications could you acquire that would strengthen your position at your current job, or make you a more attractive candidate for other jobs?
Look around you. Have you explored cross-training possibilities at your current company, so that if your department is outsourced you could find a place in another one? Do you keep a "career portfolio" that includes certifications, awards, recognitions, achievements and an up-to-the-minute resume? How much money do you have set aside? Are you continuing to build your network (and nurture the one you have)?
Your Plan B is a long-range program that takes into account your long-term goals, so it involves thinking big and thinking long. A Plan B is not only a way to ensure your job and financial security, it is a truly creative process -- and a good mental exercise!
So this holiday weekend, spend some quality time planning your Plan B. Next week, start working on it. Unexpected setbacks and problems are always going to crop up. That's life. A good Plan B helps you deal with it.
Happy New Year!
Karen Burns is the author of The Amazing Adventures of Working Girl: Real-Life Career Advice You Can Actually Use. Email her at email@example.com.
Karen Burns is the author of The Amazing Adventures of Working Girl, a career guide based on her 59 jobs over 40 years in 22 cities.
Lisa Quast is a certified career coach, mentor, business consultant, former corporate executive and author based in the Seattle area.
Randy Woods writes about job-search tools, networking techniques and other tips to help you land your dream job.
Matt Youngquist is the president of Career Horizons, a career counseling firm.
Natalie Singer is a Seattle writer, editor and small-business owner.
Michelle Goodman is the author of "My So-Called Freelance Life" and "The Anti 9-to-5 Guide."
Kristen Fife is a senior recruiter, career mentor, blogger and resume consultant based in the Seattle area.
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