Tumultuous economic trends can cause concern, but strengthening your resilience will help you weather the storm.
If you are one of the millions of Americans looking for work, the current jobs picture may seem like a smorgasbord of opportunity. Official estimates suggest that there are more than 10 million job openings in the United States, even though job growth has slowed in recent months. Many of those openings are due to the ongoing Great Resignation, a phenomenon that has seen millions of workers quit their jobs throughout 2021. Still, the current glut of open positions may be temporary at best, according to a recent report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics that envisions much slower job creation through 2030.
As the economy evolves in the coming years, it will be more important than ever to know how to adapt to these changes to maintain your career goals. In this post, we will examine how you can incorporate resilience theory into your career management plans to help with future job searches and overall career advancement.
What is the resilience theory?
The American Psychological Association defines resilience as the process of successfully adapting to adversity, trauma, threats, and sources of stress. In addition to the ability to bounce back from challenging circumstances, it is also reflected in a person's capacity to grow and evolve to overcome obstacles. The APA also recognizes this trait as something that can be learned by anyone since it involves a combination of thoughts, behaviors, and actions that can be developed over time.
In fact, resilience is believed to be the ordinary human response to unexpected changes. Most people find a way to adapt to traumatic events, stress, and other adversity. The key is to make sure that you are mindful of how you respond to change, to ensure that your efforts to overcome adversity can produce the most positive results. That is especially important when it comes to resilience during unforeseen career upheaval.
Preparing for change
The good news is that these types of economic forecasts can provide some level of foresight for workers who fear that their jobs may go by the wayside in the coming years. The BLS does anticipate job losses in a wide range of industries, including retail and even medical specialties like pediatricians and obstetricians. The agency also forecasts declines in job roles like benefits management, due to outsourcing and automation, and continuing deterioration in manufacturing.
Knowing that those changes are likely to come throughout the next decade should inspire today's workers to take steps to prepare for the future. That is where resilience theory can be a critical resource. If you understand how to apply it in your life, you will be better equipped to navigate change and continue along your career path – even if that path is somewhat different than the one you initially charted.
Leveraging resilience theory in a changing economy
Before we examine some ways that you can develop your resilience, it is vital to note that being resilient does not mean that you will never face stress or adversity again. It simply means that your response to challenging circumstances will give you a better chance of overcoming those obstacles. At times, you may fail – but that possibility should never deter you from trying. Your resilience will ensure that you continue to get up, dust yourself off, and press forward toward your goals, no matter how many times adversity knocks you down.
That said, here are several key things that you can do to develop and increase your own career resiliency.
1. Work on finding the silver lining
Negativity breeds all manner of problems, and seldom leads to any type of real success. Worse, a pessimistic outlook can prevent you from properly adapting to changing circumstances. After all, if your mindset is oriented toward expecting the worst, what incentive do you have to even try to adapt to overcome challenges?
One way that you can begin to change your mindset is to stop viewing every change as a threat to your survival. Though most modern humans no longer face the type of daily physical threats their fight or flight instincts are designed to address, the tendency to view every minor difficulty as a major threat still triggers that survival stress response. By making an intentional effort to find the positive aspect of every challenging situation, you can better manage stress and begin to view the world in a more positive light.
2. Develop an appreciation for the human factor
You should also recognize that no amount of technological or societal upheaval will ever leave you without career options. Yes, technology will destroy some jobs and perhaps even entire industries. Machines and software can now do many jobs that were once managed by human workers. At the same time, however, one thing will never change: there will always be roles for qualified, talented people. If you work to ensure that you have readily applicable skills and the adaptability to use them, you will always be able to provide value to prospective employers.
3. Embrace networking
A strong network can be your best adaptation tool during times of economic change, whether you are searching for a new job, seeking a promotion, or transitioning to a new career. That is why it is so critical to develop that network early in your career and strengthen it throughout your life. Make and maintain connections with peers, former colleagues, industry associates, and experts in your field. In your free time, try to connect with like-minded people in your industry in online discussion groups. Find mentors, as well as others that you can help to mentor. Those relationships will be essential throughout your career.
4. Never stop learning
It has often been said that learning is a process that should continue throughout one's life. Unfortunately, too many people grow complacent and comfortable with their existing knowledge base. To become truly resilient, you need to avoid that complacency and commit to a habit of lifelong learning. That learning should include not only continuing education efforts in your field, but also efforts to keep pace with emerging technologies and systems, participation in industry conferences and workshops, and development of new skills that will enhance your value as an employee.
5. Nurture your personal brand
Are you in control of your personal brand? Resilient people make every effort to manage and nurture their own brands to ensure that they communicate the right message to the world. Your brand should clearly highlight who you are as a person and employee, what values you prize, and the level of value that you can provide to employers. To build your own personal brand, you need to:
Decide who you are and define your career goals
Figure out where you want to be in five or ten years
Define your audience so that you know how to craft your own brand story
Understand your competition so that you can identify what makes you unique
Craft an elevator pitch that conveys your story in no more than thirty to sixty seconds
Broadcast that narrative through LinkedIn and other social media
Live that brand in every area of your life
Continually revisit your personal brand, refining and reinventing it as your career develops over time
6. Enhance critical soft skills
While you should continue to develop your technical skills, do not neglect those critical soft skills that will always be in demand. Technologies may change and entire industries may gradually disappear, but skills like communication, problem-solving, teamwork, leadership, and critical thinking are timeless abilities that no employer can do without. The job candidate who possesses those skills in abundance will be well-equipped to withstand any type of career adversity.
The future is always uncertain, but the current evolution in the economy is likely to continue for several years to come. By building your career resilience, you can prepare yourself to adapt to those changing circumstances, overcome challenges, and continue to advance your career goals.
Take another proactive step: get your free resume critique to make sure you're prepared for your next move.