Today, there truly are no more gold watches. The days of long tenure are over. Today, you need a Fitbit that constantly reminds you–actually pressures and reminds you to be nimble and to stay in motion, because today, flexibility, speed, adaptability and agility are key.
It is simply a fact of life that with the rate that new companies are growing and succeeding, disruption is inevitable for every company today. What I want you to understand is that it’s inevitable for every individual inside those companies as well. In fact, according to the bureau of labor statistics 4.2 years is the median tenure in corporate America today.
So, from this point forward, I want you to thinking differently–because like it or not—you and everyone else today are part of the “gig economy” and every role is a gig, even if it comes with a paycheck and a W2 at the end of the year.
It’s Time for You to Disrupt Your Own Thinking and Being to Think and Act Like a Gigger
A study conducted by McKinsey on the “gig economy” labeled individuals who took on gigs while they were in-transition as “reluctants.”
I’m encouraging everyone in today’s market to go from a “reluctant” to a gig-enthusiast mindset.
In short, I want you to do what companies are doing–disrupt yourself. Put on your Fitbit–and continually remind yourself that you must take control of your career beginning now. Adopt the mindset of a gigger to better adapt to the inevitable turmoil inside of corporations today.
How You Begin to Disrupt Yourself
Forget the old rules of career planning and development. They were mostly based on the gold watch program, not for the reality of today.
Once you can accept that every role is a “gig” and there are no guarantees, you’ll be taking the first step to bulletproofing your career.
3 Things You Should Be Doing Now
1. Cultivating & Curating a Very Broad Network
Giggers are constantly adding people to their network who have skills they don’t have so that they can augment their own capabilities for clients or who will partner with them when needed or will connect them to new gigs. They are very deliberate and curate their network for today, tomorrow and beyond.
Busy executives tend to stay in a cocoon of connections, mostly within their own company and industry, and sometimes as limited as within their own department. This is a short-sighted mistake.
Instead, be on the lookout for emerging sectors and industries to specifically cultivate and curate connections.
- Who are the thought-leaders there?
- Who do you need to know, and who needs to know you?
- Who do you need to know throughout your current company and who needs to know you.
- What relationships have you let falter that you should rekindle.
Think broadly, think globally, think bigger than you have been thinking.
Invest time and money in attending conferences and trade shows in these sectors or others that you may have an interest in exploring. Get outside your current community and maybe outside your comfort zone, and build a future-facing network.
2. Open Yourself Up to a Variety of Gigs & Do a Great Job in Your Current Role
When a client asks a gigger, “Can you do this?” The answer is almost always “sure” — and then they figure out how. They take every gig as an opportunity to earn the next one…and they are always, always looking for that next one. They never assume that today’s clients will last forever.
Corporate executives tend to stay in their own lane–head down–and as I see from hundreds of clients, their next gig is not often top of mind.
And the next gig could just be in a different department or division–giggers know that and are always sniffing out other potential new gigs within a client company–but corporate executives are not always alert to opportunities on an ongoing basis. Too often, they don’t even begin to look until word is out about a reorganization, and then they are competing with everyone else who has just been notified of the same fate.
Testimonials and references are just as important to you as they are to giggers. Often a gigger is asked to help out on another initiative that is beyond the scope of their current agreement, and they gladly take the opportunity to do that, knowing that it will give them a chance to demonstrate more value. You need to keep your eyes and ears open for special projects or contributions you can make beyond your desk and job description.
3. Actively Seek Ways to Stand Out
Giggers are not shy about standing out. In fact, they are always very calculated about showing their clients how fabulous are and working for that coveted testimonial.
Whereas in many corporate cultures, executives believe it is safer to blend in and to not toot their own horn.
I am not talking about bragging. I’m talking about making sure you are making a difference and getting credit for the difference you are making.
Be prepared–start a career journal today. In the journal, record your monthly and quarterly accomplishments. Can you volunteer for a speaking gig, or to be on a panel or maybe even volunteer to mentor someone in a different department and thus raise your visibility?
Ask yourself—how else can I make a mark here and stand out?
I’m offering complimentary 15-minute consultation calls to help you get started on Bulletproofing Your Career today!
Be sure to read the second part of this series with more tips to help you future proof your career.