Not Your Mama’s Career Strategy

not your mama's career strategyLooks to me like you just can’t keep a job.

Wry smile and twinkle in his eye notwithstanding, my accountant’s remark stung.

Fresh out of music school, I was making ends meet the best I could while interviewing for a full-time teaching job.

Logging more than 40 hours a week between two part-time jobs – church music director and supermarket clerk – while supplementing my meager income with a mishmash of substitute teaching, paid singing gigs, and even as a substitute organist at another church during my vacation weeks from my “real” church job.

I was working my tail off, but my seven W-2 forms still added up to a boatload of shame in the accountant’s office that day.

I had a quarter-life crisis before they were even a thing, leaving corporate life to go to music school at 29, the lone adventurer in a family that was firmly – and successfully – planted in the old world of work.

Old School. New School.

Dad retired after forty-some years with the post office. After staying home with my brothers, Mom became a hospital department head, retiring shortly after dad. My godparents both took full retirement just in time to spend summers at the seashore spoiling enjoying time with me.

My (ahem, much) older brother and I epitomize one of the main contrasts between the old way and the new world of work.

He’s in human resources with the same supermarket company where he started part-time in tenth grade. His colleagues had to scramble to find the model for his 50-year service plaque, since it’s been so long since they had occasion to award one.

My patchwork career history includes two short-term stints with the same supermarket chain and work in various other work modes: full-time and part-time employee, business owner, freelancer and volunteer.

In the twentieth century, it was easy to write me off as a flake who “just can’t keep a job.”

In the new world of work, I like to think I’m rather a trailblazer.

Sallie Krawcheck recounts her “four careers” in Fortune magazine: investment banker, research analyst, business manager and entrepreneur, adding that careers marked by change, pivots and reinvention will become the norm.

Particularly among women.

Business, she reminds us, is changing. Fast and faster.

Uncertainty, Flux and Opportunity

Bringing uncertainty, flux, more frequent job changes. Which requires flexibility, agility, the ability to reframe challenges into opportunities.

It’s not your mama’s career transition.

what's nextThat’s why I’m leading What’s Next small-group coaching starting this month.

To help mission-driven women grow the skills to succeed in the new world of work.

To take stock of their strengths, values and priorities.

To get clear about what they want and what they bring to the project, the team, the job.

To take solid steps toward their What’s Next.

In a supportive, confidential, small group of like-minded professional women.

The fifty-year plaques and gold watches at retirement are going the way of the manual typewriter.

So is the outdated notion that a career made up of multiple, project-based jobs in various work modes means you “just can’t keep a job.”

The new world of work is filled with opportunity and possibility.

Especially when you get the support you need to craft your What’s Next.

Learn more about crafting your What’s Next.

Next class begins March 28.

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