Change is continuous; it will never stop. Preparing for the challenges change offers—whether an unexpected work force reduction or a role change—is responding to events rather than reacting to them. By managing your career, you have a much greater chance of taking advantage of opportunities as they come along (being let go is an opportunity if you have a plan), while focusing on creating value as you move forward in your chosen direction. Reacting, on the other hand, is letting the ‘cards fall where they may’, putting ‘all your eggs in one basket’ and could place you in a position where you just don’t want to find yourself.
A Front-Pocket Plan is a dynamic and energizing road map for how you want to move forward or grow in or out of your present organization. It is about thriving in your career, being fully engaged, discovering ways to add value, and strengthening your personal brand.
The following questions will help you create your Front-Pocket Plan:
- Where do I see myself fit in my corporation’s “bigger picture”?
- How can I use my strengths more effectively to impact that “bigger picture”?
- What skills do I need to develop or further master to support the corporation?
- What habits of thinking or behaving do I want to create that makes me more productive?
- What habits of thinking or behaving do I want to eliminate that hold me back?
- Where do I see my skills, knowledge, and experience being applied in ways I will enjoy?
- Who can I talk to—mentor, coach, advisor, subject matter expert—to help me determine my course(s) of action?
- What other resources do I need to thrive?
- What would I write as my value proposition?
Sometimes those blindsiding moments come up, and you need a:
A Back-Pocket Plan outlines what you will do if your worst-case scenario happens. For example, being part of a Work Force Reduction, accepting a job because it pays the bills but you hate. Perhaps, you find yourself in a job that doesn’t have the growth potential you were looking for, or working for boss you dislike. There are as many reasons for a backup plan as there are people, and not having a plan could find you in a tough situation.
A Back-Pocket Plan includes everything you can think of to prepare yourself if that worst-case happened, so you can hit the ground running. Pants have more than one back-pocket, and you should have more than one alternative. If Plan A does not work, then go to Plan B. If you do your homework, you should have a very workable plan that will keep you thriving regardless of your situation. By having this plan written out, it helps to reduce the feeling of uncertainty and increases your feeling of control.
Below are some questions to help you create your Back-Pocket Plan:
- What is my financial situation currently?
- What steps do I need to take to accumulate at least six months of savings to cover monthly bills and emergencies?
- What can I eliminate to stretch my savings—cable, summer camp…, etc.
- What aspects of my Front-Pocket Plan can I leverage with my Back-Pocket Plan?
- What would I love doing that will use my strengths and give value?
- What industries do I want to research?
- What updates does my resume require to reflect my experience and wisdom?
- What resources do I need to contact—mentor, coach, financial advisor, subject matter expert—to help me determine my course(s) of action?
Now, you are ready for action!