When “What’s Next?” Becomes “What Happened?”

~ Contributed by Dr. Deirdre Pickerell

In 2017, Canada Career Month asked the question “What’s Next?” for careers in Canada. As I reflected on this question, I found myself focused much more on the individual career journey and how, at times, the “what’s next” doesn’t always work out that well.

I’ve been working in the career development sector for 25 years now and, for all that time, the message has been clear – gone are the days of one job for life. Instead, people should expect to experience multiple shifts (e.g., 7-9 job changes) across their working lives. Further effective career management should help ensure – but not guarantee – there is some semblance of control over those shifts. In a way, it is trying to get people to always think about “what’s next?” in their career journey.

In some cases, the what’s next is an exciting new opportunity that requires people to leave behind what many might consider “a great job” for something that is untried and untested. Career transitions sometimes require a leap of faith; however, an exciting new opportunity doesn’t always work out, resulting in feelings of regret, worry, and uncertainty.

Even when it doesn’t work out as planned, it is important to remember that every career transition offers an opportunity to build and expand networks, develop new skills, and be exposed to knew ideas and ways of working. All of these strengthen your resume and help you grow as a person.

DPCNDCWSo, the next time your what’s next? has you asking, what happened?, take a moment to reflect.  Ask yourself: what did I learn?, what skills have I developed?, and what opportunities are available now, that weren’t before? This will help you re-group and tackle your next career challenge. Canada Career Month is a perfect time to reflect . . . the month isn’t over yet!

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