In my mission to simplify career development for the man-on-the-street, I actively look for opportunities to learn from professionals. With a similar mission to promote career development, the People and Career Development Association (PCDA) conducts events for career practitioners and lay people regularly to bridge the gap. I recently decided to attend their “Glow in a time of uncertainty” webinar to see what I could learn.

PCDA seminar: Glow in a time of uncertainty

Corny title aside, it was illuminating (no pun intended) to hear perspectives on emerging stronger from the COVID-19 triggered recession. I was particularly inspired by the “Moving to New Narratives”  segment by Gerald from the Avodah Collective. His sharing was grounded in career theories while using language and tools that anyone can understand. With his permission, I have reproduced his sharing and slides for you.

1. Draw your Me-Map

An example of a me-map – courtesy of Gerald Tan

Work takes up most of our time, providing income, social relationships and a sense of purpose. When these effects are disrupted due to job loss, it’s no wonder we end-up feeling lost and discouraged. If you’ve lost your job, drawing your me-map remind you of the other things you do beyond work. When work is disrupted, you can then draw strength and meaning from the other parts of life to tide you through the crisis. Who knows, some of these roles might become an inspiration for a new career.

2. Getting ready for the move

Are we carrying too much baggage? – courtesy of Gerald Tan

As the picture illustrates, packing unwisely will only make you slow and cumbersome. We may say we are ready for a transition, but end up bringing so much baggage that we can’t move! This baggage takes many forms, but often involve old mindsets or world views (tackled in the next 3 points). We need to let go and/or change these views to be ready for the move. One good reflective question we can ask as a self-check: If there is a job right now with the right salary, would you accept the offer without hesitation?

3. The missing link to bouncing back successfully

Bridging the gap between Relief and Restart – courtesy of Gerald Tan

Governmental efforts to help the economy and support jobs are focused on the 2 pillars of Relief and Restart. Firstly, cushioning the impact of the recession on incomes, and secondly providing job & upskilling opportunities. What the government cannot do, and comes down to us, is realisation and re-alignment. We need to ask (and answer) hard questions about ourselves and our careers. Does my intended job have good future prospects? Are my criteria for the next job realistic? Is my approach to job search in-line with best practices?

4. No straight path in career

No straight path! – courtesy of Gerald Tan

This is probably my favourite slide as it mirrors the name of this site. Gone are the days when career was one straight path of ascendancy towards our dream job. Whether it is due to external conditions or personal choices, the modern career path is messy. We need to be open to other options for our best choice forward. Not every move brings you upward but as long as you’re growing aligned to your me-map, you’re on track. Most importantly, don’t let anyone else tell you that you made a bad move. After all, have they walked a mile in your shoes?

5. Changing your mindset on jobs

Challenge stereotypes! – courtesy of Gerald Tan

Finally, re-examine your stereotypes and attitudes toward industries and job roles. A great example Gerald highlighted is the sanitation industry. Does sanitation always mean cleaning tables or toilets? Many roles in sanitation don’t involving cleaning, but are essential for business such as finance, technology and sales. Do we allow old stereotypes to affect us when making a career move? How about volunteering and part-time opportunities? Although not stable like full-time positions, such opportunities open doors for us to explore and develop our me-map. They may even lead to future full-time positions. The essence is to value-add to your tasks, and value-give to those around you. If you focus on these principles, you can be sure to flourish whatever you do.

Hope you found this short sharing beneficial! If you find yourself struggling in job search do feel free to approach Avodah solutions for help. They run webinars and training to equip others with career skills.

*For the intellectually inclined, Gerald bases his approach on Donald Super’s Life-Span, Life-Space and Mark Savickas’ Career Construction Theory. You can read more from the papers/textbooks:

1. Super, D. E., Savickas, M. L., & Super, C. M. (1996). The life-span, life-space approach to careers. In D. Brown & L. Brooks (Eds.), Career choice and development (3rd ed., pp. 121-178). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

2. Savickas, M. L. (2005). The theory and practice of career construction. In S. D. Brown & R.W. Lent (Eds.), Career development and counseling: Putting theory and research to work (pp. 42-70). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

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