Ever stayed in a job you didn’t even like, for way longer than you should have? Many of us have been there at one point. Staying in a role or a business where it’s just easier to remain where you are, rather than face the scary prospect of stretching your abilities and growing in your career.
In a nutshell, being stuck in a rut.
The problem is, stay in that rut for too long and you’re likely to get flushed out by circumstances beyond your control. And in today’s world, this is happening at a far rapid pace than ever, where digital technologies are replacing human efforts and world circumstances are shaking up whole industries, and the way we do business. If there is one thing a global pandemic can teach us all – being able to adapt to unexpected circumstances is necessary for survival.
Understanding the changing landscapes can help us all to prepare and remain relevant in our careers, right up until retirement. And unless you are already a retiree, no longer does anyone want to hear the words ‘I’m just not good with technology’. Trust us, it’s a very career-limiting statement. Absolutely nobody is good at anything – until they learn how (okay, with the exception of some child prodigies perhaps but they’re few and far between).
Regardless of where you are at in your career, a curious mind that constantly seeks new information and skills sets is not only essential, it’s invigorating for your health and your whole persona too! Ever had a conversation with a work colleague who is rigid to change and new technologies – are they the person you seek out to have a chat with in the kitchen?
With all of that in mind, here’s our top tips for keeping your skills relevant for a long and rewarding career path.
- Evaluate your current skills set
We’re not just talking the practical skills you have (e.g. ten plus years as an airline mechanic) but also your soft skills that include your temperament, personality and interests. This is important because, say that airline mechanic wanted to pivot his career and become a trainer to new apprentices entering the industry? He or she would need to have patience and good communication skills to thrive in that role.
Your hard and soft skills together can inform your career path. If you’re interested in assessing this, there are many free online programs that can assist. One of these is Cognisess, a world-leading tool that is extremely thorough and can provide you with your very own career assessment report.
- Assess the path to attainment!
If there is a distance between what you currently know and what you really aspire to be (and what you aspire to be suits your soft skills too), then that will tell you what you need to do to fulfil your career goals. This may include:
- enrolling in a course at university, a training organisation or online;
- starting an apprenticeship or traineeship where you can learn and earn on the job;
- finding a mentor at work or in the industry; or
- seeking help from your employment consultant or a career mentor.
There are many government-funded support services available, depending on your circumstances. One of these is the Mid Career Checkpoint which assists people with career advisory support and access to funding for training. The program is for those who are either returning to work after raising or caring for family, or who are looking to advance or change their career after recently returning to work. If this is not you, the program also assists people working in certain designated industries. Find out more about the Australian Government-funded Mid Career Checkpoint program.
Another Australian Government funded program that provides career mentoring support and access to a 50% contribution to vocational training is the Skills Checkpoint program. The program supports people over the age of 40 who are either working or who have been unemployed for less than 12 months. Find out more about the Skills Checkpoint program.
- Fertilise your mind
By this we mean, feed your mind with what it needs to stay curious and therefore learn new skills. There is a famous quote by Albert Einstein that says ‘when you stop learning you start dying’, which is rather dire but we do agree that when you stop learning you run the risk of setting up camp in that all too familiar rut. This is not healthy for anyone.
An open, learning mind keeps you youthful, invigorated and interested in your career (and life). It can be as small as discovering how to create an animated header for your next marketing newsletter (turns out a quick Google search was very useful) or as large as completely re-shifting your career path and becoming a firefighter (not likely boss, just saying…).
So what skills are you looking to develop for your career goals?
Skill360 provide a range of courses and programs that can help you enter or support your career path. Visit skill360.com.au