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7 Career Coaching Steps to Help With Your Corporate Divorce

What if someone came to you in your mid-40’s and said “You will be going through a corporate divorce in your future. Everything is going well today, but 10 years from now, you will no longer be part of our organization. I would like to share with you seven steps to help you prepare for your divorce. You may not agree with me now but you will thank me in the future.”

How would you reply?

This is an important discussion to have with mid-40’s professionals since many of them will face an involuntary or voluntary corporate divorce in their future.

At The Frontier Group, we serve a large number of career coaching and outplacement candidates that are in their mid-50’s and face re-employment challenges due to outdated skills, high salary expectations based on the past, and a perceived and real bias towards people over 50.

What we would share are these seven career coaching steps to help them prepare for their corporate divorce.

  1. Continually Upgrade Your Skills

The business environment is constantly changing and requires people to be continuous learners. A premium has to be placed on always looking to keep your skills up-to-date. For example, an IT professional needs to be fluent in cloud based computing SaaS, enterprise software, the Internet of Things, advanced analytics (Big Data), API’s and many other technology advances.

It is not enough to be able to talk about them. You also need to seek out ways to learn more about them so that you can go beyond small talk. Ways to do this are online courses, volunteering for assignments and informational meetings. It is also strongly advised that you be able to articulate the set of skills that you have to positively impact either the top or bottom line. The future may mean a shift from a manager to an individual contributor. While being an effective manager is great, you will be considered for what you can directly do on your own.

  1. Stay Relevant

Being relevant does not mean that you need to be fluent on who are the hottest rappers or you have to start wearing skinny jeans and taking Uber to work. It means that you have enough knowledge to know what these cultural references are. Relevance is important in a workforce that can span four to five generations. It helps someone be able to better relate to others, find some commonalities and be approachable

  1. Be Open to Change

The reply that says “that is how we always have done it” or “it works great, why change it?” will not work in today’s workplace culture. While comments like these may be well intended, they can position someone as be closed minded, out of touch or frankly, old.

An open mind to change is one that embraces new concepts and tests them continuously against the status quo. It strives for constant improvement and welcomes all new ideas as a way to further grow. An older worker must avoid the approach where they point out all of the things that are wrong with a new idea and not offer a viable alternative. This negative approach will isolate you from the decision-making process and paint you as a barrier to change. Not a good thing.

  1. Respect Experience but Respect Youth

Experience brings many valuable things – insights, tenure, and time on the job. It can help guide you to many informed decisions based on the accumulated knowledge that you have gained by your time in the workplace. Youth also bring many things – a fresh perspective, energy, a willingness to try something new.

Problems occur when each side is not empathetic and respectful to the other. They dismiss the other person’s idea as either being out of touch or naïve, respectively. A person over 50 can control how they treat their younger workers and they should see themselves as an educator. They should help their younger counterparts by providing a full spectrum of options and past experiences.

  1. Build a Safety Net

The inescapable fact is that there is a great deal of uncertainty in the workplace. Mergers, acquisitions, downsizing, disruptive market forces have all made employment tenure and continuity challenging. A safety net – a financial plan, savings, living within your means – can provide peace of mind and insurance against the unforeseen events that take place around us.

  1. Keep In Shape

A sound body leads to a sound mind. Being at your best at work requires mental and physical stamina. Staying in shape will help you be able to perform at your best. This does not mean spending seven days a week at Soul Cycle. It does mean, however, routine exercise, weight management and the proper amount of sleep

  1. Have a Contingency Plan

It is also a great idea to have a contingency plan just in case you find yourself in transition. Do you have an updated resume? Is your LinkedIn profile current and do you routinely add new connections? Do you routinely touch base with key people within your business network? These are the types of value added activities that will help you quickly activate your job search in the event that you want to proactively leave or are transitioned out.

We all know the sad statistics about how many marriages end up in divorce. The same can now be said about the how many corporate marriages end badly. Practice the seven career coaching steps to help you from being caught unprepared.