How to Brexit-proof your career
- Prevent: Thinking about what you can do to prevent the worst-case from happening.
- Repair: Being creative and specific about how you’d repair things if your worst fears did come to fruition.
Naming your fears is the first step to conquering them. If you do this work, you can rest a bit easier knowing that you’re doing what you can do to prevent anything untoward happening, but also that if things do go wrong, that you have a plan. And having worst-case scenario plan is a really easy way of putting your mind at ease. Most of the time you don’t need to use that plan, but you’ll know that if you do, you’re prepared.
Like Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, it’s hard to think about much else if you feel insecure financially. There are 3 key things to think about here:
Future-proofing your career is all about being proactive, not waiting for the future to come to you! Three things to think about as you plant the seeds:
Relying on one source of income is what most of us do, but it’s risky in that we’re putting our eggs all in one basket. Start thinking about your income portfolio as you would an investment portfolio:
Thinking in this way is a really good way to derisk yourself and grow in the future. As you would balance a portfolio of investments, you have to spend time to balance the different levels for yourself. Maybe you take on a small freelancing gig once per month, and you start to have conversations with organisations you think you can help that might turn into something later. The key to this is thinking differently about how you set yourself up, thinking a bit more like an entrepreneur about your career. This helps in two ways, 1) if you do lose your job, or decide you need to make a change, you already have irons in the fire that you can lean on or put more energy into to sustain yourself, and 2) you can use any extra income to build up your financial buffer so that you’re more agile and aren’t blocked by your finances when you are looking to do something new. Need some ideas? Check out this article.
Most of us are taught to think like customers, waiting for someone to provide us with work, education, opportunities, etc. Flip this thinking on its head, assess the skills you have, and proactively reach out to organisations you think you can help. This is a great way of planting seeds.
Whilst the politicians run around trying to figure out what the ‘plan’ is for the country, now is a good time to make your own Brexit plan. You don’t need to spend £100m on your plan, but you should spend a few hours thinking about how you can make your next moves. Use your fear-setting results from Step 1 to work out what needs to be included. Remember that any good plan is about being proactive, don’t make a plan and sit on it, the best way to Brexit-proof your career and yourself is by taking steps forward to make sure you’re in the best position you can be.
1) Figure out your financial plan: Figure out how much you need to save / earn to feel comfortable and secure in your position. It doesn’t need to be complicated, and don’t be unrealistic. Take small steps and make manageable changes so that you are in the best position you can be and can be adaptable to change.
2) Figure out your T-graph: One of the best things I’ve seen with regards to skill development and growth is the T-graph in growth marketing, where you identify the breadth of skills you need, and the ones you want to become really excellent at. Draw up your own version of the T-graph so you can see where your gaps are and the things you’d like to go deep on learning. Remember that you should be trying to build skills that you inherently value, not the ones you think you ‘need’ to learn. People who like and enjoy what they do, tend to be more successful as they’re willing to put the time in to become excellent as whatever it is they do. Spend time building skills that you enjoy and that you think are worthwhile.
3) Design your own learning plan: Look at your T-Graph and set goals / deadlines / plans! Take ownership of your own learning and development, and use the abundance of free and inexpensive resources out there to build the skills you value. I personally subscribe to Skillshare, use Creative Live, and have recently signed up to start hosting my local Rebel Book Club. We all learn in different ways, whether you like online, video, in person, audio, whatever style suits you best, you can find the courses and advice you need to build your knowledge. You can learn anything, you just have to start where you are and be proactive. And, it should be fun! If you’re not having fun, you need to reassess the skills you’re trying to learn. If you don’t enjoy learning them, you’re probably not going to enjoy putting them to use!
At the end of the day, when you’re thinking about Brexit, the upcoming election, robots taking your job, or how the heck you’re going to navigate the future of work… I guess my biggest piece of advice is, don’t panic.There will always be demand for people who are good at what they do, are solving a need, and know how to sell it. Don’t focus too much on the things you have no control over, there will always be plenty of those, instead, focus on what you can control. Build skills, put yourself out there, plant the seeds so that you are able to adapt as the world changes. It’s a lot more fun, and a lot less stressful than watching the news!
Doing something different with your life and career is hard… but you don’t have to do it alone. If you need help with your Escape and if you are ready to re-take control over your life, consider:
- Signing up to receive our fortnightly newsletter for the latest career change tools, stories and advice.
- Taking our free Career Fulfilment quiz to reflect on your current work and highlight areas where your job might be falling short.
- Joining our programmes for structured support to start a business or change a career with likeminded escapees and coaches.