My nephew is a proud Millennial and one day when seeing a picture of a rotary phone he questioned how to use it. There are many consumers today who fall into this category since the rotary phone is a technology that has come and gone. I remember growing up thinking there would be a time when a rotary phone would include a camera so you can see the person you are talking to. Technology continues to undergo change.
What about your career? My mother retired from the Internal Revenue Service after forty four years of dedicated service. Also, my father worked at a job for over twenty five years and he retired before he was sixty years old. Today, it is hard to conceive staying at the same job for multiple decades. I have been a strong proponent for reinventing yourself on a regular basis. It usually comes down to two key factors, whether you are seeking to change jobs or your employer is looking to replace you.
Therefore, following a few basic steps can help you to make some key changes to remain employable. It really is not that much of a big deal to reinvent yourself. There was a time in my career that I accomplished this. I was working as a product manager for a global brand company, and one day while I was at the gym I picked up a free fitness publication. The magazine contained interesting articles that were well written. But with few advertisements. Therefore, I contacted the publisher and sold myself on selling ads. I really did not have that much of a background in selling anything but thought how hard could it be? Armed with an industry directory, a writing pad and phone I started cold calling. I started with one publication and expanding with selling ads to five fitness and health publications.
During the day I was a product manager and during some evenings and weekends I was an independent advertising executive. On one occasion, I purchased a sports supplement company and grew the company from selling products in sixteen to thirty-four states in less than four years. But what does this have to do with reinventing? When I decided to leave the chains of working for a company rather myself, I was able to run two independent businesses, mainly finance and banking and the other sports marketing. The skills and contacts I learned from a new industry helped me when I decided to start a media company targeting the sports and fitness market.
Of course, others who reinvent themselves may travel along a different path. Here are some basic steps to follow:
How Much Do You Know About Your Industry?
Becoming familiar with your industry means to understand where it is heading? Is technology becoming more apparent? What skills are needed in the future? What are the skills of the new employees and are there any trends? What new trends are emerging? When you visualize the industry five or ten years in the future what do you see? What do the analysts or third parties say about your industry?
Once you answer these questions, where do you see yourself? Can you rise to the challenge to learn something new? Do you need additional training?
I was at my local bank to use the ATM machine and I noticed all the tellers were gone from the branch. At the teller windows there were computers similar to an ATM. All the tellers were replaced and I heard this will be trend at other branches. I saw a red light indicating it is time for change and reinvention for someone.
Patience is a Required Quality
Learning something new regardless of your years of work experience takes patience. Do not get discouraged or panic, but work to build your own plan. Think about doing something you want to do and not to please someone else. It could be frustrating to reinvent yourself figuring out what your own path would look like but be patient with yourself.
Get Feedback From Your Network
Do not underestimate the value of your professional and social network. Reach out to others and get their feedback. Of course, make sure it is someone who has your best interest. Work to obtain suggestions from several, not just one about opportunities in other industries or within your own. This could include making a change from product management to operations or sales. Some additional training could help or just get additional exposure.
The rotary phone is a technology that no longer has a place in society. But this does not have to be the case with you. Examine your strengths and weaknesses and delve deep within your respective industry to see if you can take on a new role or if it is the time to leave the industry. It is your own personal journey so pack a good lunch.
Written by: Wayne Brown (Founder & CEO of The Walker Group Media – a marketing and business development company serving the financial services and FinTech companies. Our varied market segments helps us to identify synergies and opportunities to stimulate growth as we partner with our clients to build their business. Through our one-on-one CEO Advisory Services we have helped companies to navigate through key business problems, increase sales, build new revenue streams and gain new customers.)