Do You Have A Plan B For Your Career?

Original Spanish version published in America Economia (Latin America) on March 27, 2018

We know that no job is secure. In fact, a job has gone from being “for life” to “as long as it work for both of us”, and this situation can affect us at any moment. We might as well come to terms with this here and now.

Our personal lives and careers are filled with projects; some are successful; others fail along the way. That is why it is always important to have a plan B for our careers; that is, an emergency plan in case the main one takes longer than expected or falls apart altogether.

One of the things that has always surprised me during the 25 years I have been supporting people in job relocations –or starting up their own company or business if that is the goal– is that practically nobody expects to be let go some day. Most people who work in a company as employees try not to think about what would happen if their services were no longer needed by the organization one day.

I know it is a depressing thought, that we should live life optimistically, and not go around having negative thoughts. But we also have to be realistic. We might as well face the facts and, most importantly, have a career plan B.

The idea is to have the following well thought out, already prepared, or at least clearly outlined: What would I do if I had to leave my current job tomorrow? Where would I work? Where and how would I find my next job? Would I like to change to another field or stay in the same one? Am I up to date in my current field? And in the new one I would like to work in? Would I be professionally attractive, that is, would there be a demand for my services in the market as it is today? Evidently, the same goes for the following questions: Is my résumé updated and well-written? Have I included my achievements and results? Are they well quantified? Does my résumé sell well?

If your dream is to have your own business, then it would be fitting to ask yourself: What business do I want to start? How would I do it and with whom? Do I already have a well-developed idea? Have I carefully assessed the steps to take? What would be the competitive advantage I would need to improve my possibilities of success? Do I have the funds to live and pay my bills while my business takes off?

I am not trying to distract people too much from their present jobs, if they have one, with all of this, and, much less if they feel satisfied with their current job. Plan A requires us to give the best of ourselves to add significant value and produce solid results. Especially if we are satisfied. But, as mature and responsible adults, we must think about all the possible scenarios, have alternatives, and start to act so that we are not left wanting in an evolving situation, whether foreseen or not.

Fortunately, despite the political crisis in the country, people in Peru continue to relocate successfully. Data obtained by LHH DBM Peru as of February 2018 shows that 90 percent of their outplacement program participants relocate to a position “higher than or equal to” their previous one. The job market continues to be active and there is new hiring, but that does not mean we can become complacent. Quite the opposite.

I encourage you to think about and work on this plan B, always seeking to proactively raise your level of employability and never neglecting the value of your personal brand.

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