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Future Proof Your Career Against Ultimatums


Can you future proof your career against an ultimatum? Together, we’ll look at what would you do if you were faced with a "take it or leave it" announcement that dramatically impacted your job and work life.

Elon Musk reportedly sent an email to Tesla’s salaried employees requiring their physical presence in the office ... or else. This ‘take it or leave it’ edict raises an interesting career management lesson and question.

How immune and resilient would you be in the face of the "comply or resign/take offered severance" scenario. 

This isn’t far-fetched. Here are some common scenarios:

1: Your flexible/hybrid work status-quo (or some other component of how you do your job) could disappear if more companies follow the lead of Mr. Musk.

2: Your job could be physically moved to another location requiring relocation or a longer commute.

3: The content, responsibility, or focus of your role could shift towards something you didn’t sign up for, are at odds with your values, or aren’t excited about.

4: Reporting structures, people (new manager), or resources change in a way that you see as a negative for your career or well-being.

How to Process Career Ultimatums

What would you do if it happened to you tomorrow? Here are 4 questions to help parse this …

1: What’s the level of impact on your career, well-being, personal life, etc?

  • A hypothetical question now so difficult to answer in advance

2: How much do you want to continue working in this organization?

  • A question you can answer now. How enrolled are you in the mission? How close are you to your colleagues? 

3: What is your level of confidence that you could generate a new and better job/work alternative?

  • A question you should answer now. This gets to the perceived degrees of professional freedom you have. Your career capital or market power. Your market readiness. The state of your professional reputation, network and conduits to opportunity.

Question 1 is important.

Question 2 is telling. Hint: If you’re not excited and enrolled in where you’re working, start planning to improve that.

Question 3 is foundational and the long game.

There’s so much out of our control. The economy. Acquisitions and mergers. Changes in leadership. New strategic directions.

Pay attention to what you can control by putting energy and intention into your professional journey.


Future-Proof Your Professional Journey with these 7 Strategies

While some factors are outside your control, these seven strategies ensure that 12 months from now, your career will be more resilient, and you will feel more confident and proud.

1. Pay attention to risk

Every week, we get new clients dealing with the impact of external events on their job and career. A new boss. A company acquired. A shift in the political dynamics of the office. Changes in corporate priority that impact your portfolio. The solution: Analyze and notice the risk, and take action.

2. See and make a plan to avoid or get out of the career traps

Without intention and working on our professional journey, it is easy to fall into a career trap. Accidental career progression. Specialization in something you don’t want. Getting pigeon-holed into a dead-end role. Staying too long in a position without growth. Again, avoidable with attention and intention.

3. Shift from reactive to proactive with career moves

One of the significant sources of career problems is bad decisions related to career moves. Unfortunately, the norm seems to be reactive vs. proactive. And the #1 problem with that ... you've put yourself into a scarcity situation. Get in front of career moves to generate more opportunities and choices.

4. Don't stall in a bad situation

You know when things aren't going well. It may be you or the environment. Cut the elapsed time between noticing when you’re settling, stuck or unhappy and your proactive actions to fix the situation.

5. Solve for self-sabotage

We all have behaviours that aren't optimal in the workplace. Identify and work on how you self-sabotage and undermine yourself professionally. Look for patterns of feedback or negative outcomes.

6. Recognize & leverage the power of compounding

Just like health or financial well-being, the quality of your professional journey benefits or is damaged by the power of compounding. Success-building activities like developing confidence in your professional identity, building your network, nurturing your reputation, investing in personal and professional development, and developing career capital compound both ways. If you are avoiding these, it is going to hurt you. If you steadily work on them over time, you will experience the benefit.

7. Get help. Invest in yourself

There are great reasons to seek help.

  • Accountability

  • A proven process

  • Having a sounding board

  • Expertise and insight you don’t have

  • Unlock your potential through coaching

  • Assistance in seeing what you can’t see

  • Saving your valuable time through done-for-you services

  • Increasing the probability of success, cutting risk, and decreasing the thrashing time involved in going it alone

Your work-life is 36% of your waking hours. It deserves to be optimized. Whether you work with Bold Career or find other ways, the ROI is significant.

I’m with you. Let’s make your professional journey, and by extension, the quality of life, a healthy, fulfilling, energy-giving one!


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