The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


May 3, 2013

Career Coach: Overcoming Career Turbulence

— Is your career facing a head wind? Do you feel that your progression is slowed down by the current economic conditions? Do you find yourself investing more effort yet drifting from your goals?

If so, you are not alone.

We are living and working in an era of turbulence and we must learn how to stay our course and keep our careers on track. We cannot simply blame the conditions in the environment and abandon our course just because it is tough out there. It is precisely in tough times when we should reconnect with our vision, revisit our goals and relentlessly pursue our career aspirations.

I was writing portions of this article on my way to Washington from a business trip, when the captain informed the passengers that we were going to encounter some bumps and turbulence in the next 30 minutes of the flight. The seat belt sign was turned on. The captain told us he would search for more stable conditions at a higher altitude.

Ten minutes after his announcement, the pilot apologized again and asked all the flight attendants to take their seats. He was now anticipating severe turbulence and, once again, he would be trying another altitude.

You've probably been in flights where pilots fly above or around storms. A flight to New York will not land in Florida simply because there is no storm there. The pilot will continue to take the plane toward the intended destination, but will seek a smoother course.

We need to apply this lesson to our own careers and lives. Without a clear and explicit articulation of our desired destination, the turbulence of the moment could end up taking our "flight" somewhere else. The late W. Edwards Deming, world-renowned quality expert, admonished us to create "constancy of purpose" or "aim" as part of any individual or organizational pursuit of continual improvement.

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