Career Insurance

What is ‘Career Insurance’ and how do you develop it during uncertain times

What is ‘Career Insurance’ and how do you develop it in uncertain times? It has been a long time since we have seen so much uncertainty across every industry. No role is truely safe in the current environment and without psychological safety its nearly impossible to be effective in your role (see previous articles on Feeling Safe in an Unsafe World in sidebar).

There are ways we can take back some control and in this article the author Doris Clark refers to her personal experience of being laid off the day before 9/11, learnings she put into practice and included in her book titled Reinventing You. It starts with recognising all the things we do not have control over, the pandemic and the broader economy and being well prepared. Clark suggests a four point plan.

Hope for the best and plan for the worst.

Jack Reacher (fictional character written by Lee Childs)

Develop “Bridging Capital”
Our professional networks are mostly likely tightly aligned to our industry and often inside our company, which is fine right up to the point that those networks are not relevant anymore. Your professional networks need diversity of industry, age, skills and background. Now is the time to seek out and grow diverse networks, when economies are strong a diverse network will expose you to “new ideas and methodologies” but when the markets are exposed to downturns those networks may help identify job leads or provide you with some critical market intelligence.

“it doesn’t help you to know 1,000 people at your company, or in your industry, if everyone else has also been laid off”

Step into Volunteer Leadership Vauums
When dealing with crises some executives reduce their voluntary leadership commitments as they focus on retaining their paid roles, however this is an opportunity to step in and build your reputation with a new group.

Create Intellectual Property
When you have worked closely with peers you have the opportunity to earn their respect, however how do you build that same level of respect from people who have never worked with you. In days past you might have presented at a conference but today people are more likely to read your insights in online industry forums or LinkedIn.

Test a Side Project
You might love your job and have no plans to leave but having a ‘side hustle’ could really pay off if situations change. Start small and test out ideas and possibilities at a minimum you will expand your horizons with opportunities, you might even find a new revenue stream that could supplement or replace your current income.

Key Takeaways

  • Just like Jack Reacher – you need a plan, so hope for the best and plan for the worst. Career Insurance is not like Income insurance, it is about establishing alternatives that you can tap into if trouble strikes
  • Your network is important so don’t have a network tightly constrained by your current employer
  • There are ways to build your brand and make people more widely aware of your capacity. Investigate the relevant opportunities and regularly put them into practice.
  • Not everyone wants to build a start up but we are living in the time of the gig economy and the portfolio career, so branch out and see where else you might be able to develop and build a future
Synopsis of an article from FastCompany
by Dorie Clark
Published 20th July 2020

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