Career Moves and What Sir Isaac Newton Got Right
Career agility is desireable mindset in the workplace.
One of Isaac Newton’s laws of motion is a great metaphor for modeling an agile career:
An object in motion tends to stay in motion.
An object at rest tends to stay at rest.
Career agility happens when an individual embraces the principles of responsive career navigation. Winning the next fulfilling job, being happy in the current job, or planning for what’s next is part of a continuum of iterative and parallel efforts.
Whether you work in a corporation or are an entrepreneur with your own business, the career you have is subject to change. A career is dynamic and will benefit from being calibrated on a regular basis.
There are two basic mindsets to managing a career in a perpetual dynamic landscape:
1. The Rest Stop Group
This group sees the current job as the goal. A great deal of energy is expended to acquire the “true north” job. A feeling of “I have arrived” takes over. A rest stop is analogous to viewing a workplace as a job, rather than part of a fluid career.
A rest stop is like a plateau instead of a hike up the mountain.
What happens when all the vigorous efforts utilized to attain the perfect job are derailed? What is your plan B? This can happen when a bold career jump is not tested or explored in advance of a move. Landing a job out of alignment with who you are can feel more like a prison sentence than an opportunity for growth.
2. Career Agility in Motion
Have you ever noticed that some resilient people continually land on their nimble feet regardless of the setbacks in their lives? Their careers are recession-proof. Even when they lose a job, another one better suited to them magically appears, a sure sign of career agility in action.
They have a secret. Just like the hiker who crossed the stream in an agile way, these motion-obsessed make incremental changes to accommodate their preferences. Self-awareness steers their career machine. Here are just a few of their habits:
- When external factors start to orbit around them, they take notice.
- As internal interests evolve, they develop them.
- When a challenging project becomes available, they raise their hand.
- If another role within the organization is attractive, they create a plan for making a switch.
- When growth is no longer available in their current organization, they research the job landscape in pursuit of other opportunities.
And finally, they take action. In the game of career management, big opportunities and progress are derived from small refinements over time.
An agile career is a self reflective, incremental career path, guided by response to change, evolving job roles, and designed to optimize creativity, growth, and happiness.
To learn from others who have realized the benefits of an agile career, including real stories and perspectives, read Activate Your Agile Career.
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