By Catherine Palmiere
Years from now, when you look back at your career, the likelihood that you stayed with one company for your lifetime is very slim. The days of starting your career in the mailroom or the typing pool and slowly moving to the VP’s chair, one promotion at a time, are gone forever. In fact, often, the only way to create the career challenges that you need and find the salary you deserve is to move from company to company – while continuing your education and personal and professional development, of course. And while switching jobs is never easy, it is definitely an opportunity to create growth and to discover courageous new challenges and new mentors.
Every job brings with it new teams, new colleagues and new accountability. Throughout the forty or fifty years that most of us will work, the different jobs and skillsets we develop will build on one another, creating a strong foundation of reliability and then building a career on that foundation that can reach as high as you dare to aim.
Be prepared, of course there will be bumps in the road. Even the worst boss or position, however, offers the unique opportunity to reflect, regroup, and eventually, to course correct. Bumps allow you to understand what you DON’T want to do for a living and where you DON’T want to work, and discovering those things is as important as what you DO want. The process is a lot like shaking sand through a sifter at the beach searching for coins. The effort to release everything that is NOT the treasure you seek is certainly worth the time and work involved – and even the risk. As we often discover in life, it is those wrong turns and detours we make that most define who we are and what we truly want. And while this process can be irritating at the time, like an oyster, it is that irritation that creates a pearl – in this case it is a pearl of wisdom.
As we stand at the threshold, either starting our career – or starting over (as over 2 million Americans have been forced to do this year), we should take some time to string our pearls and ask some important questions.  Ask yourself:
1.  What do I WANT to do for a living, and what would I want if there were no limitations?
2.  What industries or companies interest me?
3.  Where can I find the salary I need and deserve?
4.  Are my resume, CV and references in order?
Lastly, have I built a great professional support team?  Who is searching for me?  Who is advising me?  Who is coaching me through the process? (Because this is the one road you shouldn’t travel alone – it’s too easy to get lost or find yourself in unfamiliar territory.)
Then, sit down and list your best assets – not just your education and experience, but the things that make you who you are. That unique set of assets that any company would benefit from. Are you driven, funny, a great leader? Are you a perfectionist, an idea person, a great teammate? The short list of why you are the ONLY candidate for the job in question should be literally at your fingertips. Remember, you are your BEST advocate. This is the time to be confident, prepared, engaged – and oh yes, wear your best pearls of wisdom.
Catherine Palmiere, CEIC, CPBA, CPCC ~ Coaching others to create their best careers for twenty-seven years
President Palmiere Career Services. Find her online at: