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Top 3 Takeaways from the Squiggly Line Career

Angela Champ has squiggled her way through a variety of careers prior to landing in her current role. We had a timely and engaging conversation about how to rethink the corporate ladder, why now may not be the time to make a big career move and what you can do to make the most of your career opportunities. (You can watch the replay here.) Here are my top 3 takeaways:

1) Cultivate Your Inner Cheerleader

Often one of the things that holds many people back from making bold career moves is the dreaded Inner Critic: that voice that tells you that you need “one more credential” or “one more piece of experience” before making a major career leap. This inner saboteur can stop many people from taking career risks or even making less risky career stretches. Angela advocates cultivating your inner cheerleader. Shift limited thinking to “you’ve got this” thinking and build up your personal positivity muscle. Talk to yourself like you would talk to your best friend or someone you love. Now that’s a shift most of us can benefit from whether a career move is afoot or not.

2) Welcome to the YOLO Economy

The pandemic has caused many of us to take a big pause and evaluate what’s really important and where we truly want to go with our careers. Similar to the “New Year’s effect.” this pause is causing movement in certain job markets which is causing pressure on organizations to work harder to retain their best talent. The New York Times recently coined the phrase ‘YOLO Economy’ which reflects this mindset of ‘you only live once’: talented employees are ditching the dreary dregs of work and making big career leaps. As leaders, if we want to make sure we’re not losing our best people, we’re going to need to double down on checking in and staying connected. And, if you’re feeling the need to ‘toss it all’ and move to the wilderness, make sure this isn’t a knee jerk reaction to sitting in the ‘sameness’ of the pandemic. Perhaps a radical short-term change isn’t what the doctor ordered. Instead, you need to work with your manager on how to create better alignment with what you need and can offer the company and what the company needs and can offer you.

3) Connect the Dots to Create Your Vision

It’s easy to feel stuck in a career and we all can hit stages where we’re unclear on where we want to go next. Sometimes coming up with career goals and the inevitable ‘what am I going to do with my life?’ question is overwhelming. To find your next opportunity, create a mind map with your ‘new role’ at the center and all your prior roles, in chronological order, mapped around that new role. Think of the aspects of each role that you enjoyed the most. From there, start to look for patterns and themes. What begins to emerge? With this insight, you may find new opportunities and/or potential that can move you forward. If those opportunities don’t exist within your current role, think about how you might be able to build your skills and apply your strengths through other avenues like volunteering or taking on special projects. Forward momentum is the key to getting you on a career path that is satisfying.

There was so much more! Thanks to everyone who attended and brought such great questions. Be sure to pick up a copy of Angela’s book The Squiggly Line Career. It is chock full of excellent advice, experiences and exercises to help you find your squiggly path to a career you love.

Next month, I’ll be joined by Michael Bach, CEO of the Centre for Diversity & Inclusion and author of the book Birds of All Feathers: a guide to doing diversity and inclusion right. Register here.

You can find recordings of all our previous sessions on our YouTube Channel, our Roundtable Academy site and here, on our blog.

And, if you’re interested in joining a community of leaders committed to connecting to their purpose and making a bigger impact, check out our signature program – The Roundtable for Leaders. We have two groups launching in the Fall and Winter of 2021/22. If you are interested in joining the wait list for our upcoming open enrolment, you can apply here.

Happy leading!


PS – Don’t forgot to grab a copy of my new book The Grassroots Leadership Revolution to get tips on managing your career and building a network of support