No matter where you work, it may seem that you face demands that are always changing. Even if your leaders have a clear vision, the marketplace shifts constantly, and the job they asked you to do yesterday may not be relevant tomorrow.
But it is possible to become more comfortable with all the tumult, and to position yourself to bounce back when the next wave of change comes along.
I’ve seen these strategies help my executive coaching clients and they can help you:
1. Know that it’s not about you.
Organizational change is like a torrential rain storm. It’s pouring everywhere, not just on you. Complaining won’t help and bitterness can make your situation worse. It’s vital to job survival that you look at the big picture and focus on the future. Let go of any anger at finding yourself in a game you didn’t sign up for, and concentrate on playing the cards you’ve been dealt.
2. Understand your industry and its environment.
Always put in the time to understand your company’s business, as well as the surrounding market, regulatory framework, and political situation. Know a lot about the competition, be alert to the needs and interests of customers, and be well-informed about the winds of innovation. By thinking like a CEO, you can spot the trends and be ready when the next wave hits.
3. Know your bosses’ goals.
Your longtime supervisor may fondly recall your contributions from a few years back, but that’s probably not enough to save you when the going gets tough. Your most valued colleagues are the ones solving today’s problems and contributing to the achievement of tomorrow’s goals. If you want to do well in the coming months, be sure you understand your bosses’ immediate objectives. Ask yourself: what do they need in order to be successful? And are there more ways I can help them succeed?
4. Network! Network! Network!
Be widely connected. Make friends wherever you go, keep in touch even when you’re busy, and always be willing to offer help or ask for it when you need it. Whether you are looking for a new job or a new idea, your position will be stronger if you have a broad network. Take the time to listen when you meet someone, join groups, volunteer for projects, and find other ways to get to know people throughout your organization and beyond it.
5. Find stability in other places.
Some folks are less at ease with uncertainty than others. If the constant state of change at work is getting you down, find people and communities to rely upon in other aspects of your life. Be smart about building a balanced life. Be active in your religious community, work hard to stay connected with many friends, and find the time to visit widely scattered family members, as well as mentors. Create structures in your life that give you a place to rest when everything at work seems crazy.
6. Be in great shape.
Let’s face it: change can be exhausting. When the world seems to be unstable, it takes extra energy just to get through the basics. So, although working around the clock might be the answer in an emergency, it’s a shortsighted lifestyle when transition is the new normal. You need sustained energy for the long haul. A regular fitness routine and enough sleep are critical to strong performance during difficult times.
7. Reduce financial pressures.
Don’t become desperate at the thought of losing your job. When times are uncertain, it’s wise to build up your rainy day fund or lay the groundwork for alternative sources of income. And there could be another benefit to pursuing some sort of entrepreneurial sideline. I’ve noticed that when clients start a side gig, whether it’s consulting or a part-time job, it sometimes brings new energy to their day job. Creating your small business can inspire your entrepreneurial thinking and refresh your career enthusiasm.
These days it seems like everybody encounters career bumps from time to time, and there’s no straight line to success. But with strategies like these you can learn to ride through the tough times, become more flexible and be ready to reach for surprising opportunities.
Master of reinvention and executive coach, Beverly Jones MBA, JD, PCC has spent four decades helping professionals and leaders survive and thrive. She is the author of the new book, “Think Like an Entrepreneur, Act Like a CEO: 50 Indispensable Tips to Help You Stay Afloat, Bounce Back, and Get Ahead at Work“. She led university programs for women before trailblazing her career as a Washington lawyer and Fortune 500 energy executive. For 40 years she has helped other professionals and leaders survive and thrive.