I haven’t talked about this for awhile, so it’s time for a refresh. Career Plan B is one of the most powerful concepts I’ve run across, yet one of the simplest.
If you could no longer do your job tomorrow, what direction would you take?
It doesn’t really matter why you can’t do that job anymore. And sure, life would be miserable for awhile. But remember, this is just a mental exercise, one which will help give you a better perspective.
So, again, what direction would you take?
Perhaps you’d go back to school and build your education in a different area. Maybe you’d launch your own business, selling your expertise as consulting. Or you might partner up with someone you admire.
Maybe you wouldn’t work at all, and instead focus on your family and helping the community.
The world is wide open, which is why this can be such a great exercise.
When I work with clients, I often find much more energy around this alternate career path. Some of it stems from a bit of burnout in the current job, and the “grass is greener” effect of something new. But I also tend to find that clients have some deeper values at play, ones that they’d love to explore if they had the opportunity. I even have some exercises which help people figure out what these areas might be.
But we aren’t done yet.
The second half of this exercise is: Now that you have this information, what’s keeping you from exploring and preparing?
I’m not suggesting that you quit your job tomorrow. I’m saying that if you would want to go acquire some new knowledge and experience, there’s probably ways to do that before you lose your job. Night school, internships, hobbies, exploration … use your imagination.
Some of you know my story. Back in 1997, I decided that I had some new directions I wanted to take my career. It was rather vague, but after working with a career counselor I was able to put some words to it. Ultimately, that ended up with my passion around coaching, and I started doing part-time work as a coach and facilitator off and on since 1999. When I got laid off in 2009, moving into business coaching full time was a logical choice, and it helped that I had ten years’ experience.
My Career Plan B turned into Career Plan A, and it’s what I’m doing today. It would have been much tougher if I had waited until 2009 to get started!
What alternatives would you love to explore?