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‘Error 404’ What do we do when our career path does not load?

A letter to your younger self was the turning point for the reflection of the virtual session conducted by the recruitment firm, JobsTT & Progressive Recruitment Specialists Limited, hosted by CAMSEL for the Catholic Youth Commission. The series entitled Error 404, engaged the concept of unpredictable technical glitches and our intrinsic response of fight or flight.

When our career goals hit a snag, we collapse and mull in the error state. There is no manual offered, as this phase can occur at a moment’s notice, creating a professional obstacle course. Operations Director at JobsTT and Progressive Recruitment Specialists Limited Carolyn de la Rosa shared some highlights to the participants with key points for retrospective learning.

The inertia and intense feeling of being overwhelmed are expected. The question is not the why, but how do we engage our inner selves to move past the error state without going into a state of stagnation?

Three words; Reset, Reassure and Growth.

Real and engaging life stories were shared from the team at JobsTT & Progressive, which the audience readily related to, as no set path is defined. Change must occur. Carolyn led the conversation with regard to a very raw, but similar experience at an Error 404 stage.

Carolyn, having received a scholarship, applied to schools in the UK, but with a level of indecisiveness, made applications for studies in Dentistry, Aeronautical Engineering and Engineering. She eventually chose a general engineering programme and pursued a Master’s degree in manufacturing. While Carolyn’s trajected career path seemed very technical, even having worked in the UK and in industrial companies, she hit reset. Her passion lay in consultancy, and she today leads the robust and highly performing team in an HR & Recruitment environment. Did she see that coming while pursuing her undergraduate programme?

Similarly, the team’s stories are no different from Carolyn’s. The variety, however, leads for a true understanding of reassurance. One team member, Wadikee has journeyed through a declined opportunity to migrate to North America. He pursued studies in IT but switched paths two years into his degree and started a career in Aviation. Now Wadikee, is a seasoned recruiter, 13 years in and an advanced practitioner in Martial Arts.

Of course, Error 404 will elicit a sense of failure, regret and perhaps nostalgia. It’s critical to understand the stages of career development: Follower, Collaborator, Instructor, Manager, Influencer, and Leader, to navigate and mitigate the ‘errors’ in one’s professional development, and to grow and progress – maybe at varying rates. Moreso, it is critical to understand how the ‘errors’ affect your personal achievements and how they can be impacted by timed and unexpected life occurrences ranging from: your first job, a pandemic, politics, mergers, family matters and sometimes, it’s just not for you. The key at all of these stages is to maintain a Growth Mindset as opposed to a Fixed one.

In a Harvard Business Review (2021), Ann Hiatt underscores three values to realign and reassess your career path. She lists purpose, people, and pace as pillars when adjusting to an environment of change to better understand the next move.

In the takeaway of Carolyn’s notes, writing a letter to your younger self offers insight and reflection of where a journey may lead. What would you tell your younger self? What would you have done different? Give it a try!





 

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