Canada Career Month – What Have We Learned?

Canada Career Month 2016 is coming to an end and, at some point, those behind the initiative will likely evaluate its impact and determine its overall success. It has been exciting to see the evolution from career week to career month and how technology and social media have been leveraged to help spread the word. It isn’t just about the how but what the message truly is. Career development stakeholders have struggled to clearly communicate why career development matters for as long as I’ve been in the field, some 20+ years now. However, with phrases like “prepare and engage all people to be more aware of their personal pathways to prosperity,” and “help more Canadians jump into great careers, rather than deal with today’s unemployment, underemployment, tough transitions back into work and precarious employment.” I’d suggest the sector has found its message. For individuals, it is more than simply finding work but finding and keeping work that matters and effectively navigating the rough times. For communities, it is about the positive impact investment in career development has on society . . . it is about the “social good.”

It is important to recognize that a career, or the work that one does, evolves over time. Changes in government, industry, technology, and the work environment impact the day-to-day execution of work tasks. So too do life’s roles and stages. Individuals that aren’t paying attention to these and other factors aren’t managing their careers effectively and may be more likely to struggle with job loss, underemployment, or even burnout or boredom. Those who do manage their careers are better equipped to navigate the sometimes challenging work environment and, even in instances of down times, are more able to adapt and retain some sense of control over the outcome.

In Spring, during tax season, Canadians are reminded to do a financial check-in, contribute to RRSPs, and file their taxes. In Autumn, they are bombarded with ads for automotive tune-ups and tires to prepare for the harshness of winter. Although this regular maintenance is ingrained, a regular “career” tune-up or check-in is not . . . but it should be.

In the final days of Canada Career Month, consider pausing to take stock of how well “work” is working for you. Consider finding a Career Development Practitioner (CDP) through one of the professional associations. Like other professionals (e.g., accountants, mechanics, doctors, or dentists), CDPs have specialized education and expertise focused on helping people manage their work.


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