Career Identity ≠ Self Identity
Hi there. This is the first in a series of posts that explore the core principles in my coaching practice. I hope it gives you inspiration on your path to discovery and new achievements.
We live in a world that's in constant motion. The Earth has a consistent spin, but the people within it are spinning faster and faster every year. Technology continues to accelerate the pace, and it is impacting every facet of our lives.
Nowhere is our life changing more rapidly than the workplace. Globalization has ushered in a wave of consolidations, restructurings, advancements, & obsolescence. Technology has brought an unprecedented level of communication, iteration, & distractions.
In the past, a single career path is something that people would pursue for 4+ decades. Ideally, they would advance within this track to higher and higher levels of advancement and monetary gain. Most careers were easy enough to describe that people would quickly get a sense for what a person does when they clock in each day. This career path would quickly become synonymous with their self-identity, especially when they stayed in the same field for such a long period of time. Was this healthy? Is it now?
The landscape has transformed. People are changing jobs at a record pace. Job titles appear in the form of a double helix and require a TED talk to explain. Yet, many of us continue to prop our career identity up onto a pillar right next to our self-identity. This carries with it a few major risks.
First, the rapid pace of change in today's work environment could blindside us with a sudden shift. Perhaps a new technology comes along that renders our career less valuable. Or our organization decides to restructure, and we lose our job. What happens to our self-esteem if we've put our career up on the ultimate pedestal and suddenly and without notice everything changes?
Alternatively, what if we don't adapt to the new pace of work? What if we hold on to the idea that we have to keep soldiering on and climbing that ladder to the best version of success that we can achieve? We tell ourselves, if we play our cards right, we can retire a few years early and get away from this misery. But in the meantime, our coworkers are coming and going at a more rapid pace, and we start to feel a slow simmering, discontentment that if we aren't careful can result in career burnout.
Finally, what if we have a change of heart later in our career. We love what we're doing today, but as we evolve; the work we do doesn't grow with us. Or the next rung up the ladder turned out to be a dead end rather than an advancement. We've invested so much in this; how could we possibly make a change now?
My coaching is centered on helping people develop solutions to these difficult questions. The key is to be proactive and set the foundation now for financial wellness and personal growth across all aspects of your life. I work with my clients to assess how well their career and finances align with their values so they can determine if a change needs to be made and how urgently. Most people simply look at what they have available to them currently and make decisions accordingly. I help my clients develop tools for growth that create inflection points in their life, where they will be open and available for change when needed. This could look like retirement, but it also could be shifting to a more fulfilling career. When you take full ownership over your finances, your options expand considerably and you'll suddenly notice that not only are you keeping up with the world as it spins, but you are achieving things you never thought possible.
I’ll be back in a couple of days with more on how I achieve this with clients.