Every day I meet someone who is going through a big career change.  Some are doing so out of their own choice, as part of a ‘big plan’ while others are doing so out of necessity due to an imposed change. Having once thought it was for life, the corporates they once worked for have new plans which don’t include them.  Their profiles no longer fitting or in the wrong geographic location.

It’s in these situations when the big questions of life ring louder and truer than ever. “What’s it all for? Why are we here? Where am I headed?”  And although it would be great if I could answer them in this blog, unfortunately I am not God and neither are the people going through their imposed change.  But don’t despair, there is one piece of advice I can share with those that are still happily employed.

With the end of the year looming ever nearer, I believe it’s a good idea to set aside some time to come up with your own career backup and options plan. And this advice extends to those whose career is going just great!  The very process of asking oneself “if I wasn’t doing this, what would my other options be?” can keep you alive, fresh and breath in new energy and insights into your career. Try it at a dinner party “if you weren’t doing what you do for a living today, and could do anything – what would it be?”

I believe that a career should never be a single race but a pattern of parallel actions and thoughts that combine to add value wherever one is.  For example, working during the day and bringing up a family in the evening and weekends are just two parallel tracks. Doing voluntary work, studying or even fun hobbies can add a third or fourth.  But even for those people that are simply too busy to think about backup plans and options – then an hour or two alone, reflecting on the big questions and dreaming of fun alternative career options, can offer more rewards than a thousand business emails.

My message this week is never be afraid to dream of alternative careers, one day you might be forced to take them seriously.

Have a good week,