It’s fair to say about 8 million jobs were lost during the recession (2007-2009). It slammed many of us in the belly of our 401(k)s. But perhaps it was the evisceration of our sense of self, how so many of us had to reconcile our career aspirations with our now compromised livelihood, that was even more painful.
That tumultuous time forced many from the comfort of a full-time job. Those left behind had to hold the ship steady, even overloaded with twice the work. Still others jumped ship, tired of the status quo and uncertainty. No matter the work mode, it’s not your parents’ workforce anymore.
In Body of Work: Finding the Thread That Ties Your Story Together, author and business coach Pamela Slim makes sense of the challenges we now face, offering a strategy to (among other things), “surf the fear” while transitioning into the new world of work. A tall order as Slim suggests:
“How do you make sense of your career in a work environment that no longer has any predictable career paths?”
That is probably the ontological question of our time. This new world of work operates 24/7, is global, hi-tech and comes along with an increasing thirst for flexibility with no guarantee of stability.
In Body of Work, Slim offers a framework to gently guide the reader past the typical values assessment we see in most talent management strategy books. Utilizing probing questions about one’s roots, unique personal strengths, mentors and collaborators – she calls on the reader to “discover and harness your body of work.”
Finding that hidden talent and leveraging life experiences create a foundation from which to work, and to create your own career narrative. And while in her first book, Escape From Cubicle Nation, she guides people on a journey from the cubicle, in this book she acknowledges that “career” is now seen through a new lens. This concept could not be more on target, as the way we work, is evolving. There are way too many modes of work to mention, but among them are: Employee, Contractor, Freelancer, Entrepreneur, Small Business Owner, Internet Personality etc.
Through rich story telling, including detailed personal stories (she tells us about her dad who is a gem of a human being) Slim opens a door of encouragement. Guidance also comes from stories and quotes from people like sociologist and life coach Martha Beck, professor and best-selling author Brene Brown, business phenom Richard Branson, best-selling author Malcolm Gladwell and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg.
Choose a career lifestyle, find the thread that ties your story together and create something unique, while redefining success, advises Slim.
“Making yourself miserable, trying to emulate someone else? You have success dysmorphia. Embrace your own success,” says Slim.
That perhaps is the most self-loving action one can take in a new world of work. No longer living by the edicts of success according to the spreadsheets, but instead according to your bottom-line of what you’re super good at. What brings you happiness, what career is best for your work life fit and in your greatest imagination – what your body of work will come to be.
How would you describe the new world of work? What has changed for you?
Please join me in the conversation at twitter @JudyMartin8