The start of a new year is always a good time to reassess your personal brand; to take stock of what’s working and what could use improvement. This year brings with it the opportunity to think about not just the next 365 days but also the next decade. Whatever your particular goals, it’s crucial to understand where you fit into our rapidly changing workplace culture. The adaptability of your personal brand – and your behavior – will allow you to stand out and attract the right kind of attention.
Bridging the Generation Gap
Contemporary corporate culture continues to evolve at a rapid pace. Technology impacts how we work and communicate. Old organizational hierarchies are shifting, and offices have become less formal. Additionally, our workforce now spans multiple generations.
Unfortunately, too many of us get caught up in generational labels and fail to see the benefits of a more age-diverse workforce. My older clients complain that younger workers “just don’t get it,” while the Millennials I know don’t believe that their more seasoned colleagues are tech-savvy enough to match their pace. The truth is that we all have something to offer. Instead of trying to force each other to “do it our way,” we all need to have a little more adaptability.
Standing Out In Contemporary Work Culture
One of my clients came to me worried that her colleagues didn’t respect her. “When I’m on the phone, I can command attention, but in meetings, I’m overlooked,” she told me. The first time we sat down together, I knew why. She was wearing dated clothes that made her blend in with the wallpaper, and she didn’t carry herself with authority. This woman has 30+ years of experience in her industry, but none of that mattered because of how she showed up in person.
She was afraid to speak up because then people would see her age and push her out. Unfortunately, her fears aren’t unfounded. In today’s world, employment is no longer a guarantee, especially for older workers. However, as my client discovered, playing small and hoping that people didn’t notice her age wasn’t a great way to earn respect.
To stay relevant, adaptability is key. We need to change the way we think, be more creative with our ideas and bring something to the table that younger workers can’t.
How to Reorient Your Career
It is possible to reorient your career even after decades in the same field, but you have to be flexible. The following tips can help you gain the perspective you’ll need to adapt:
- Visualize and write down your goals: Make a list of your goals and keep it somewhere so that you can reflect on it every day. If you’ve just hit 40, where do you want to go, and what do you want to do over the next two decades?
- Be honest about what’s important: If you’ve been at the top level of your organization for years and you don’t want to be there anymore, be honest about that. Don’t stay where you are because you’re afraid of what other people will think. Check your ego and ask yourself how you want to serve the world.
- Find a coach or a mentor: When I was thinking about opening a salon, I talked to four different salon owners, and none of them said anything positive about running their businesses. They kept me from making a huge mistake. Talk to someone who’s been where you are. Ask honest questions and be open to their feedback.
- Listen to the voice inside of you: You have a little voice that’s speaking to you every single day. Listen to it. When you don’t, that’s when you run into trouble. Tune into your body. Whether it’s urging you to slow down, speed up, or make a significant change, pay attention.
Careers Aren’t One Size Fits All
Working for a large company might not right for you. Maybe you’d be happier at a smaller organization or being your own boss. You might need to take a pay cut or make other lifestyle changes, but the alternative is to stay in a career that isn’t satisfying until something drastic happens – like a demotion, firing, or health issue. Don’t wait for the wake-up call. Be honest with yourself now so that you can make the adjustments you need to be happier and healthier in the long run.
Remember, adaptability is key to a strong personal brand. If you need help adapting to your current work environment or you’re considering making a career change, contact me. Together, we will find a way to create a personal brand that gets you where you want to go.