Career Testing
Career Testing
Career Testing
CAREER DEVELOPMENT / AUG. 30, 2014
version 2, draft 2

How to Facilitate Personal Career Management in a Tough Job Market

Today, the world of careers is definitely full of uncertainties. With structural unemployment climbing steadily in many job markets and governments failing to deliver on their job creation promises, it then becomes understandable why we’ve got so many people today that are just drifting through their careers with the intention of mere survival. And so, it’s no longer about going for what they want. Instead, it’s surviving with whatever opportunities that come their way. Consequently, the ideals of personal career management are gradually replaced by a desperate need for survival in tough economic times.

The Dangers of Solely Depending on Survival Instinct in Personal Career Management

In a game football, a composed team usually ends up salvaging a few points despite the fact that it’s on the losing side. However, a resentful and uncomposed team solely bent on winning by whatever means necessary ends up creating loopholes within its formation which makes the opposing team even score more. Similarly, when survival becomes the sole theme of personal career management in tough times, we tend to develop loopholes such as:

  • Habitually resulting to unfair and malpractices as justifiable shortcuts to get things done.
  • Making unnecessary enemies as we step on people’s toes to stay afloat.
  • Losing grip on our personal self-esteem and career self-confidence.
  • Getting frustrated with outdated and obsolete career tactics.
  • Living in plausible deniability of the fact that your formal career dreams are long overdue.
  • Subjecting our career destiny to the mercies of mediocre job placements and unfulfilling career opportunities.
  • Attracting rogue employers with desperate vulnerability.

How then do we Facilitate Personal Career Management in a Tough Job Market?
When we talk of facilitating personal career management in a tough job market, we’re basically focusing on ways to ease the task despite obstacles brought about by current opposing forces. In so doing, we should:

#1 Avoid using Mob-Based Career Solutions
If you’re the kind that engages in endless debate about conquering unemployment, then you’re in for a long and frustrating career streak: 

  • To begin with, many mob-based solutions are essentially ’everyone’s secret’ which means that by the time you implement those solutions, everybody’s doing it. 
  • In so doing, you’ll have jumped from the frying pan into the fire and you’ll keep on wondering why your career journey is getting tougher with every key decision you make.
  • (Tip) Karl Marx even once argued that unemployment was a necessary evil since it was a balancing equation for employers to shield themselves from excessive salary demands.

#2 Be Bold Enough to Break The Formal Career Rules
Many people today are engaged in what we essentially call the rat race. 

  • Basically, their life can be summed up by a nutshell of going to college, getting a job, working for a number of years in the same job then retiring in frustration because of unexpected retrenchment:
  • And I’m not saying that it’s bad. But this rat race drama doesn’t work for everybody. For instance, we’ve got so many young people today who are literally locked out of unemployment and yet they’re not complaining. Why? It’s because they broke the rules and started entrepreneurial gigs and start ups that are passion and talent driven. 
  • If only you would be bold enough to look beyond the established rules of the game, then you would be surprised at what you’re missing for making the ’normal’ decisions.

#3 Have an Independent and Unbiased Career Mindset
Recently, the Kenyan government claimed to have created 700,000 jobs. Well, the problem with these figures is that there was no real impact witnessed on the ground. Again, people talk of unemployment like it’s a crime not to have jobs. Meanwhile, smart people have leant to turn obstacles into opportunities by resulting to freelancing, contractual engagements, entrepreneurship and so forth.

So what I’m trying to say is that in tough job markets, misplaced influence fueled by misinformed sources is everywhere. But at the end of the day, you’re on the ground and so you have a better perspective about what’s really at stake. This means that instead of depending on others to tell you how the career world is doing, then maybe it’s time you found out for yourself. Otherwise, if your career mindset is constantly swayed by misinformed influence, then your career misery is far from over.

The survival instinct is like fire. You can adjust it based on how fast you want to get the cooking done. However, if you use too much survival instinct in personal career management, you might end up burning down all your career hopes and dreams with one fatal mistake. With that in mind, I can’t stress enough how composure is a key ingredient in averting the effects of a tough and competitive job market. As Robert Schuller once put it, "Problems are not stop signs, they’re guidelines."

Sourced Image: Frustration

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