Repositioning Yourself as an Eworker

Repositioning Yourself as an Eworker

Carleen Mackay writes for – a Ms.Money partner.

We often hear of mature professionals who have spent all of their adult life in a regular, full-time job with just one or two firms. Their background, while limited to the one industry in which they’ve worked, is quite varied. They’ve contributed to their company’s bottom line in a variety of ways: technically, managerially, or as an expert in a specific area. But can they transition to a career as an eWorking independent professional? Absolutely! If you are one of these rare gems, the good news is that we are living in an era of a “talent-driven economy.” If you have the talent, half your battle is won.

There is no bad news…there is only some work involved. Following are 10 steps to help mature professionals reposition themselves as an eWorker.

Step 1 – Of all the work you’ve done, ask yourself: Which work did I enjoy the most? What was I best at? Look inward. Most mature people know. Get some feedback from former colleagues to validate your driving interest.

Step 2 – Update your knowledge about your career choice. Is your knowledge current? Or, have you made a choice that is so far back in your past that it may not be relevant to today’s needs? You need to have current knowledge for today’s marketplace. If you are pursuing technical interests, you may have to learn a few new skills. Fortunately, this is easier than you think. If you are pursuing your leadership interests, speak in terms of today’s leadership. Of course, you are most marketable in your own industry.

There are two easy ways to gain market information. First, interview people who are working in the career that interests you and for which you believe you are qualified. Ask them how they manage their careers. Ask about the pitfalls and the rewards. Ask about related industries where your experience may be needed.

Second, there is more information on the Internet than you can believe possible. Search and learn.

Step 3 – While gathering information; think about the power of connectivity. A former colleague of mine at my last place of regular employment, is Marti Smye. Marti is the author of Is it too Late to Run Away and Join the Circus? (Macmillan, 1998). In her book, Marti suggests that you gather a group of personal advisors–an informal board made up of people you respect and whose opinions you value. I hope you’ll read the entire book. It’s a great read for mature professionals seeking to make changes in their lives and in their careers.

Step 4 – Always speak positively in terms of the future. Remember that negative thoughts and attitudes can be self-limiting. Avoid speaking of past negative experiences. You, not your previous organization, will usually suffer the consequences. Don’t regress – tales from years ago date you and might make your listeners feel uncomfortable.

Step 5 – Throw away positions and accomplishments older than 5-8 years. You will not be paid for what you did “way back then.” A focused biography of the talent, experience and contributions that you plan to make the basis of your next career step, is a lot more powerful than a chronological resume. A chronological resume tells the reader about the distant past and little about the recent past. It can end up looking like 20 to 30 years crowded onto one page.

Step 6 – Think creatively. Would you prefer to make a career out of your avocation, or perhaps contribute to your community or to others less fortunate than you? Explore these options in context with your values and the reality of your financial and life situation. Some people even combine their avocation and their vocation to manage a work portfolio. For information on how to manage a work portfolio, please ready Charles Handy’s books, The Age of Unreason and The Age of Paradox. Portfolio workers typically work for gain, for love, for fun and for learning.

Step 7 – Become a “futurist.” Read ahead. It is easier to figure out the present if you know the future! I borrowed that last saying from Faith Popcorn and her book, Clicking. Faith is the principle of her firm – all her firm does is measure business trends. They are paid a lot to keep an eye on the future! A worthwhile read, even though this may not be her most recent book.

Step 8 – Abandon fear. You can only fail if you do nothing. There are plenty of opportunities out there for you. It’s your job to find them. Once you start learning about this exciting independent field, your fear will subside. It’s only when we close the door to the world that fear can take over the lives of otherwise talented people.

Step 9 – Get fit. Mental fitness, physical fitness, and spiritual fitness send signals to each person we meet. A strong or weak sense of self-worth and self-confidence are reflected to others by how you see yourself. Fitness and experience make a terrific combination. It will beat youthful inexperience at least half the time.

Step 10 – Read and learn. You are worth the investment! Everything you ever wanted to know is published. Plenty of Web sites are dedicated to providing access to virtually every book in print. Of course, continue reading this column. All of the writers on eWork Exchange are experienced in the world of eWorking.