There is a lesson I learned long ago in life. It’s something that I didn’t take to heart when I was younger – unblemished by the hard knocks, losses, and struggles that often fill our life landscape, the longer we live. The lesson is something very simple.
Change is similar to ‘death and taxes’- things that are inevitable.
I remember hearing that phrase about change again at a management retreat. I was a Department Head, at the time, at a television station.
You see, up until that point and for some time beyond, I was blessed with what many would view as a successful career.
I was an award-winning television news anchor/reporter for most of it, rising to the ranks of early evening news anchor in a Top Ten Television Market in Dallas, Texas – the fifth biggest news market in the country.
But I chose to leave news anchoring behind to report on more good news, eventually taking a job in the management ranks in Indianapolis in 2002.
I was now a Community Affairs Director at a television station there, leading community service campaigns and reporting on community issues.
If you measure success based on awards as well, over the years I won several regional Emmys for reporting and producing, several state journalism awards, a few national journalism awards, and dozens of community service and personal achievement awards.
I don’t say this to boast. That is not my style. I am simply setting the stage for what happens – when a career at which you excelled – ends earlier than expected. Can you relate?
My career transition put me on a collision course toward that word that strikes both fear and sometimes excitement in our lives: CHANGE.
And it was a big life change for me after more than 30 years in the television spotlight. It was a time in my life when that spotlight grew dim.
After several changes in General Managers at the television station where I served as Community Affairs Director, still reporting and appearing on-air daily, I watched job cuts happen more often – behind-the-scenes.
As the business climate in media changes and the industry continues to go through transformation with the competitiveness of other platforms, more media companies are downsizing.
Although my small team and I were doing award-winning work leading all community service campaigns, covering critical community issues, and branding and boosting the station’s community image, I feared my job and my department could become a casualty. I was right.
First, I lost a producer. And before long, when the General Manager took me off the air, with a planned demotion, effectively ending my department… let’s just say the writing was on the wall. (It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know, it’s time to go… Lol.)
I left before the inevitable happened.
I was determined to beat the short time clock on my broadcast journalism career and take control of my own destiny.
WHAT’S NEXT AFTER CAREER CHANGE?
So then, for many who face career change, the decision becomes… now what?
It happens or will happen to many of us.
I knew personally that my chances of ever getting another on-air job in television were minuscule. I was 52 years old when I left tv three years ago and, although there are always exceptions, that matters in tv.
And there are few jobs behind-the-scenes in the industry for people with my salary, experience, and skill set.
My television career was over.
But no matter what your career is when you face CHANGE, I want to share some lessons I’ve learned through that transition that I hope will help you.
1. DURING CAREER CHANGE, DON’T PANIC AND DON’T PRETEND. PREPARE.
Prepare yourself for a possible career change. Don’t bury your head in the sand. Keep up with the changing dynamics of your industry.
Many of us can see the signs that our career or position is threatened but we sit still anxiously with our fingers crossed, working hard for the company, and thinking hard work will be enough.
We don’t plan ahead.
When you see the signs, or if your career has already been changed, start building a plan for *you*. Dust off your resume, network with others to see what’s out there and build a new chapter.
Find a mentor in your field or another field of interest and absorb their advice and guidance.
I reached out to others when I knew my career was changing. They helped me see new possibilities and even introduced me to some of their contacts to have more conversations.
Also, take time to write down all the skill sets you have and the qualities that make you good at your job.
And, write down what makes you unique as an employee – your personality, the way you interact with others, the way you perform your job. Include some variation of those things in your resume and in job interviews.
If it’s been awhile since you’ve had to prepare a resume, you can hire a professional for a nominal fee to craft a resume for you. That worked for me.
Or you can go online and find free advice on resume-building and tips for job transition. If you have a budget for it, there are even job counselors available to help guide you.
Don’t underestimate the power of the internet to help inform and educate you as you plan for a new chapter.
When change happens, don’t be its victim. It’s time to empower yourself.
Don’t let anyone hold you back.
Start preparing today.
2. REMEMBER YOUR STRENGTHS DURING CHANGE. NO ONE CAN TAKE THOSE AWAY
Over the years, I have watched many colleagues lose their jobs. Positions eliminated. Contracts not renewed.
Understandably, they often feel lost and discouraged.
I always remind them not to forget one important thing.
No job loss eliminates your experience and your unique skill sets. No one can take that away.Click to tweet
Yes, it’s OK to feel anxious and worried. We are human after all and we still have bills to pay and family responsibilities.
But remember to reflect on what you still have.
You were hired based on your work experience, your training, your education. You have a job because of your talents and your skills. That hasn’t changed.
YOU created opportunities for yourself before and you will again.
Some other company will appreciate what you have to offer them.
And remember, there is no one in the world exactly like you. That’s pretty amazing, actually. Embrace that. Capitalize on your strengths.
And ask others what they consider your best qualities on the job. You may not realize all that you have to offer, so others can help you fill in those blanks.
Bottom line? Restore your belief in yourself.
3. REIMAGINE, REINVENT, RESET AFTER CHANGE. DETERMINE WHAT MATTERS MOST 2 U?
As you prepare for a potential career change, or if an unexpected change has already happened, reflect on this:
Are you doing something that felt meaningful as a career or were you just paying the bills? This change could actually be a blessing in disguise.
It may make you re-evaluate what you really want in your life.
So, when you’re deciding what’s next in your career, maybe it’s time to reimagine, reinvent and reset.Click to tweet
In my new chapter, I am on a mission to remind people that we get this one beautiful life at least on this earth, and I want to encourage you to focus on your purpose and what matters most 2 U.
Are you living into someone else’s story or are you living your story?
Is your career fulfilling you, bringing meaning to your life, and serving you well?
If not, it’s never too late to change direction.
What would that look like for you? It doesn’t necessarily mean wholesale changes that would require you to get a new college degree, for instance.
It may just mean delving more deeply into your skill sets and deciding if there are other ways to use them in new career fields that would speak more to your purpose.
Or it may mean rediscovering talents or skills that you put on the backburner to pursue someone else’s dream for your life.
Ask yourself these questions:
What did you always want to do when you were young? What moved or inspired you? Did you get off track and choose the wrong career as an adult?
When I knew my career was ending, I started planning for my reinvention.
I had been dreaming of starting my own business doing PR, media relations, and brand storytelling for nonprofits and other businesses.
So, while I was still working at my last television station, I took a ten-week entrepreneurship class in the evening. The Indy Chamber offered it as part of its Business Ownership Initiative (BOI) group.
And although I took a career detour immediately after leaving tv, as the director of public affairs at the Indianapolis Airport Authority, I brought my entrepreneurship dreams to life a year and a half later.
I created a new vision and story for my life and I am living into it.
This article from Tiny Buddha has some tips on what you can do to create a new vision for your future.
We will probably all reinvent ourselves several times in our careers.
4. DURING CHANGE REMEMBER THIS: NO MAN CONTROLS YOUR DESTINY
That has been a mantra throughout my life. It is not just based on my faith, but on the belief that we can’t give anyone that much power over our lives.
If we do, we are giving them permission to control our destiny.
Bosses are just people. Some great. Some good. Others bad. They are not all-powerful and shouldn’t be worshipped or feared.
Yes, realistically they can fire you or eliminate your job, but that’s just one life chapter. They can’t end your goals and dreams or limit your future unless you let them.
Don’t ever let anyone minimize you or clip your wings because of their narrow view of who you are.
You know *you* and you can always start over and build a new chapter.
A song popped into my head right at this moment. “What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger…” Sing that on the way out the door, if you need to boost your confidence as your job ends.
And, read inspirational books that affirm your destiny and remind you how much power you have to shape it.
Try this book on for size: “You are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life,” by best-selling author Jen Sincero.
In one chapter, Sincero writes, “I’m in control of my life. I think I will head on out and kick me some ass.”
That cracked me up and helped motivate me as I was leaving my last job to venture out and start my own small communications business.
I also bought that book for some of my staff, including a few Millennials, when I was leaving the airport because I want them to be equipped to know their greatness and power over their own destiny at any age.
And these words Sincero wrote also spoke to me: “This is about your faith being greater than your fear.”
5. GO FORWARD WITHOUT FEAR AFTER CHANGE
In the end, we have nothing to fear when our career changes.
Fear limits us. It keeps us in a box. It prevents us from spreading our wings and building a new chapter.Click to tweet
If I operated in fear, I would have never had the courage to become an entrepreneur in my 50s. I would have never launched Angela Cain Communications, which also includes writing this blog to encourage others to focus on what matters most… such as our careers.
Change isn’t always easy. I face struggles building a small business and keeping a steady client roster as a start-up, but I am growing and learning new things every day. And I love the flexibility of working on my own and the joy of doing something that fulfills my purpose.
And here is something I’ve learned, too. Although change is constant, nothing is the end of the world…until the end of the world.
So, put things in perspective.
Change your attitude about change.
And always believe in YOU and your ability to reimagine, reinvent and reset.