I find my career trajectory is becoming chaotic. There is no way I am able to control it and when I do a check-in of where I am, I am lost! What can I do differently to bring it on track?
A connected world also brings in (un)expected chaos.
With non-linear careers, it's difficult to predict one's career trajectory. Sometimes it feels as if you are lost and its hard to make sense of what is happening.
If one has to move from viewing their career as chaotic to viewing it with confidence, one needs to know 'chaos' better.
Chaos theory that grew out of the work of Edward Lorenz, James Gleick describes the following principles. These principles will help to move from career chaos to career confidence.
1. Butterfly effect:
Simply put, butterfly effect is when the span of effect is outside span of control: a butterfly flapping its wings in one region of the world causing a hurricane in another.
When you view your career, what external factors (butterfly flapping) affect it? For eg: The pandemic, Generative AI, recession. climate change, etc.
You may not have control over the external factors but you can be prepared in facing them. The first step is to be aware of what is happening in the world that could have an impact your career.
Remember you are the owner of your career, but not its only cause. The major cause for emotions that one experiences during career chaos is the expectation that you are the only cause of shaping your career.
Most of us want guarantees in life. We want to know whether we can get a guarantee for our efforts. This again goes back to the tendency to be in control.
However we live in BANI world.There is nothing that is a guarantee in it.
The ability to take risks and willingness to experiment is an important requirement of career success.
If you are feeling stuck, what initiative(s) would you want to take? What risks are you willing to absorb or mitigate?
A few decades ago if we had asked what is common between telecommunication and information technology, we may have arrived at none. Now the world of telecommunication is heavily dependent on technology.
When we look at a painter's palette, it does not have boundaries as we see in a colour box. It's all mixed.
So your job roles may get mixed with adjacent roles and new roles could emerge that may not fit your boundary. Be open to change your boundaries. It will lead to a lot of opportunities. Its like creating countless secondary colours from primary colours (RGB).
Many of us get hurt with feedback. Its really not feedback, its feed-forward as Marshall Goldsmith will call it.
Feed-forwards enable change. They are data inputs that can help us alter course.
If you are receiving feedback that your salesmanship or your networking needs improvement, please assess its veracity and start making small challenges that enable you to get to the role of your choice.
A fractal is a repeating pattern. We can see this a lot in nature, in trees, leaves, flowers etc.
If you take your career and look at possible patterns, you will discover some that repeat.
Once you identify your pattern, you can consciously choose to break it to create a different outcome.
You may also choose to create a new pattern for the rest of the career.Give yourself permission to create new career patterns.
What creates chaos in your career? What would you do differently to walk with confidence?