CAREER PIVOT FOR THE FUTURE: THE STRATEGIC IMPERATIVE

Last October 10, 2019, Viventis Search Asia hosted the Federation of Ateneo Management Engineers (FAME) in our Viventis Career Center in EDSA Shangri-La Hotel for a leadership series event. The event entitled “Managing Your Career in the Digital Age”, addressed the challenges individuals and organizations encounter in the age of technology, while panelists discussed how they navigated their careers in the digital age. The Executive Director of Viventis Search Asia, Yu Ming Chin delivered the keynote speech entitled “Career Pivot for the Future: The Strategic Imperative” wherein he discussed the changes in businesses and career paths, as well how to survive and thrive in this age through career pivots.

We live in the age of disruption, where the workforce and industries are evolving as a reaction to the increasing role and command of technology in our lives. Mr. Yu Ming Chin said that with such a large transformation in technology, entire business models have been evolving because technology transformation leads to the emergence of new markets, customers, products and services, competitors and partnerships. According to Illanes et. al. (2018), 62% of executives believe that they will need to retrain or replace more than a fourth of their workforce between 2018 and 2023 due to advancing automation and digitization. Changes amidst the disruption will need to occur on a managerial level, but for individual careers to survive the evolution, individuals will need to adopt a more strategic mindset.

To have a strategic position in today’s workforce, we need to look at the three facets of our careers:

Career Fit: You will know you are in the right career if you are satisfied with the quality of your job, work culture, your lifestyle, compensation, and you are able to play you strengths by setting your passions free. (Citrin & Smith, 2003)

Career Trajectory: Included in your career trajectory are your speed of promotion, length of stay in a firm, and your likely career direction based on your previous experience and potential. (Sullivan, 2015)

Career Potential: Your potential value is based on the skills that you have that will make you likely to succeed.

This value can be added to over time as you increase your intellectual and interpersonal experience and eventually gain momentum. (Citrin & Smith, 2003)

Keeping these three facets in check will make you more aware of your value, your potential, and your direction to avoid undervaluing and underestimating yourself. You will also be able to maximize your career in the digital age by putting yourself in an advantageous position while leaving room for a career pivot.

Career pivots “allow people to make agile transitions and follow different, better paths for themselves” (Michael, n.d.). Making a career pivot does not mean you have to drop everything and start from scratch, rather it is a strategic way of making a move wherein you can still maximize the assets acquired in your previous career path. A career pivot is also an avenue to try something new, build strengths, improve weaknesses, gain new perspectives, and continue to evolve. What is key in a career pivot is the ability to use what you are good at and translate and apply them to new situations, industries, and careers. A pivot cannot be executed unless you have one stable foot in place that holds one’s foundation of values, accumulated experiences, and achievements. (Michael, n.d.)

Mr. Yu Ming Chin also discussed “The 5 Patterns of Extraordinary Careers” by James M. Citrin and Richard A. Smith which was written in 2003 as a guide for achieving success and satisfaction. Today, many companies are undergoing a transition amidst the disruption, while the attitudes of young professionals toward their careers are also changing. This makes the book all the more relevant as it instills attitudes, motivations, strategies, and logic that allow individuals to orient themselves toward future-proofing their careers.

The first pattern is Understanding the Value of You. The three phases in a career are: Promise, Momentum, and Harvest. The duration of the Promise phase usually runs from the end of your education to your early thirties when you get the relevant experience in recognizable companies, pursue further studies, and learn about your strengths, weaknesses, likes and dislikes. The Momentum phase usually occurs during your mid-thirties wherein you master functional skills, develop a track record, take in broader responsibilities, and manage other people. You will also have to make difficult decisions, especially when navigating among opportunities, learning, and playing your strengths. The Harvest phase, is when you are 25 to 30 years into your career wherein some are continuing to progress while others have peaked. The advantage people at this stage of their careers have is that they are able to differentiate themselves from others with their unique career paths, and use this for further promotion and accepting new challenges.

The second pattern is to Practice Benevolent Leadership. Benevolent leaders lead with open communication, deep trust, and alignment of individual and organizational goals. Benevolent leaders motivate their people by giving them freedom in their jobs and giving them recognition.

The third pattern is to Overcome the Permission Paradox. The permission paradox is the problem most people encounter when “You can’t get the job without experience, and you can’t get the experience without the job.” (p.73) It is possible to get out of this paradox through either direct or implied permission.

Direct permission is when you able to do something because someone said you can, while implied permission is being able to do something because no one said you can’t. This can be done by equipping yourself with the right credentials, demonstrating your competency, strategically planning your moves, getting a mentor, and masquerading as the leader should the opportunity present itself.

The fourth pattern is to Differentiate Using the 20/80 Rule of Performance. 80% of effort and resources are spent achieving the predefined objectives set by your superiors, however it is what you use the remaining 20% of effort and resources that can set you apart. What your are able to produce with that 20% is what will make you stand out from the rest, and make you extraordinary.

The fifth and last pattern is to Find the Right Fit. You will know that you have found the right fit when you are able to play your strengths, set your passions free, and are able to fit in naturally and comfortably with your work culture.

This will only be possible if you allow your career to be pulled in the direction that is fit for you through a long journey of self-discovery and understanding.The career triangle, which is aligned with your values and goals has three facets: job satisfaction, the lifestyle your career allows you to live, and compensation.

The big transformations within and among industries may urge individuals to make career pivots. A career pivot is made possible by creating a personal career growth plan, establishing and utilizing a network, and by having a mentor and career coach. It is in changing times like now, that people have the opportunity to make pivotal moves but there is still a need to be strategic about them. It is important to build the necessary skills and organizational capacity to know the right time to make a career move. There is a need to have physical and mental discipline in order to work with and inspire others. Lastly, especially with the unpredictability of the times, it is of utmost importance to be prepared for anything and anticipate changes. Despite the challenges of career pivots, it is possible to thrive by looking at the bigger picture, being willing to make sacrifices, having a good motivation, and taking risks. In the end, the rewards of of making a career pivot include being able to take on new adventures, pursuing your passions, resolving feelings of satisfaction, managing achievements, creating your own sense of success and happiness.

Sources:

Citrin, J. & Smith, R. (2003). The 5 Patterns of Extraordinary Careers. New York, NY: Crown Business

Illanes, P., et.al. (January 2018). Retraining and reskilling workers in the age of automation”. Mckinsey & Company. Retrieved October 14, 2019 from https://www.mckinsey.com/featured-insights/future-of-work/retraining-and-reskilling-workers-in-the-age-of-automation

Michael, J. (n.d.) “The Career Pivot (Your Career Direction)”. The Career Experts. Retrieved October 16, 2019 from https://thecareerexperts.com/jobseekers/career-management/the-career-pivot/

Sullivan, J. (February 23, 2015). “Hire like Google – Project the ‘Career Trajectory’ of Your Candidates”. DRJOHNSULLIVAN.COM. Retrieved October 22, 2019 from https://drjohnsullivan.com/articles/hire-like-google-project-career-trajectory-candidates/

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