Surfing The Career Curve

The phrase “Job Security” often feels like an oxymoron. With headlines often reminding us of the fragility of careers, we need to make sure we are valuable in the current workforce, or willing to head for a new career.

While there are no guarantees, for even contracts can be broken or not renewed, we can keep the odds in our favour by making sure our skills are solid, current and even by expanding our capabilities through further education and training.

If your skills are outdated, so are you. “Then my organisation should retrain me,” you contend. Be forewarned. If someone walks in off the street, with the necessary abilities to do your job right now, why should a company invest in you with further education or training, adding to their overhead? Especially if the new hire can be hired for the same salary you receive, or even less but with better skills? You want to be an asset, not a liability. Understanding that is motivation enough to take action.

First, accept the fact that jobs are no longer “employment for life with one organisation.” Dr Malcolm Johnson, of the Australian Institute of Management, points out that today a career requires building and maintaining your “skill-set balance sheet.” In this age of ‘free-agency’ where mobility of skill is matched with the best opportunities, then you need to be at the leading edge.

Staying ahead of the career curve is a powerful metaphor from surfing. Surfers don’t want to be dumped by waves or to be caught up in the turbulence of a breaking wave. They don’t want to be a wash-out. Neither do you. Like the surfer, you must anticipate the wave of desired skills. You can surf the career curve if you focus on your potential and maybe even find a new career.

So let’s look at the curve. The point of acceleration is two-thirds up the face of a wave. Any higher and you’ve missed the opportunity. You’re essentially locked into riding the last bit of the peak before it crashes down, if you’ve caught the wave at all.

So it is with careers. Choosing to change an upward career path takes the courage of your convictions, requires motivation on your part, and commitment to and belief in your own abilities.

If you’re working hard using a specific skill and there is no continuing investment to evolve those skills, you’re approaching the zone where something’s got to change. Without investment, your skills will peak and you’ll be left behind, unable to remain in your current position; unable to begin a new career.

Stand back and look hard at your current situation. Ask yourself, if you were searching for a new position right now, what would make someone eager to hire you? Your skills, experience, perspectives and success make you valuable. Or not.

Current wisdom actually suggests that we may have six or more totally different careers during our working life. You have two options: ‘reinvent’ yourself through learning totally new skills or ‘re-purpose’ your current skills for a new environment.

Be in control of your career. Be on the lookout for the best opportunities that allow progress toward where you want to be.

One excellent place to begin is with Trainwest, a registered Training Organisation. Using industry experienced trainers and assessors, we deliver nationally recognised qualifications.

Trainwest‘s  Certificate IV Frontline Management  presents the skills and knowledge to manage projects and overall project outcomes. In addition, you’ll find training and assessment as well as self-paced learning opportunities.

Our last 2014 course starts on the 15th of December so sign up while there’s still time and start the new year with fresh, new qualifications.

Bottom line is to control your career. Stay relevant, and remain valuable. Then you have created your own “job security.”