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What Does Being A Career Activist Mean?


“Planning your career path, maximizing your marketability, standing up for your rights and enhancing your work satisfaction."


Who's Managing Your Future?
More and more Canadians are coming to grips with a sense of gnawing concern: employers no longer seemt to value loyalty like they used to. Fact is that job security is becoming the Brontosaurus of our workplace.

Worrying about getting downsized, getting overlooked for that next promotion or being mistreated by your boss -- these can drain you of your natural enthusiasm.  At their worst they can even make you ill. But what if you could firmly plan your career path and prepare yourself for any eventuality, so that your sense of control grows substantially? 

“Traditionally, ‘acting corporate’ has meant ‘being in a role’, wearing a mask, donning a fake persona, numbing yourself: never letting people know what you're really thinking...never being emotional or self-expressive or spontaneous."  Barbara Moses, Ph.D., Canadian career author.

Why Even Try?

Burnout, reduced performance, physical and emotional illness—all of these can result from the stresses of today's high pressure workplace.  The idea is to ward these off by “planning your career path, maximizing your marketability, standing up for your rights to enhance your work satisfaction”. This enables you to:

  • do what your employer requires of you, while taking away everything you can to boost your own marketability.  

  • Plan for future shifts so that you are always prepared to take control of your situation.   

 Already employed? Read about how to leverage your current job to become even more marketable!


The Five Key Stages

Like every other process, taking charge of your career becomes more doable when you break it down into manageable steps. Here are five to consider:

  1. Know yourself well.  Take a realistic look at who you are and what your circumstances are.

  2. Determine What You Want. How can you get the most out of your employment situation or transition?

  3. Stabilize Your Existing Situation. Make sure that you have a solid foundation in your current circumstances before moving ahead.

  4. Create a Plan.  Employers have a strategic plan, now it’s time to prepare one for yourself. Plot out your goals, tactics and approaches carefully.

  5. Start Moving Toward Your Goals.  Avail yourself of everything you can to help yourself grow and become more marketable. Take your own initiative as needed. Then leverage your strengths and stand up for yourself in the workplace!

The Results Are Worth It

Nadine, a Manager of Finance at a major pharmaceutical firm, is a single mother of two young children.  She was constantly putting in overtime because her company was a takeover target and she was afraid of being downsized.This was slowly, silently damaging her and her family.  Her performance began to suffer, her absenteeism rate shot up plus her self-concept as a good mother started to crumble.  

After we reviewed her situation, she decided to be proactive. First she talked to her boss about how she could help him to achieve his most important goals. Then she focused her efforts on making him look good. Meanwhile she updated her resume, began to re-build her network of contacts and made sure her skills were up to speed.


At that point Nadine approached her boss again, this time with a win-win solution: she would work from home one day a week and still be fully in the loop—only now her kids got to see her too.  Not an extraordinary situation by any means.  Yet it was only by fortifying her position that she was able to work with her employer on a solution.  Now the company has a committed top performer and Nadine’s children have a mom who is more present and healthier.  That’s just one example of what being a career activist is all about. 

"We can't go on like this. We can't compartmentalize our lives. We can't postpone the joy in our lives until after work and on weekends and cram all that is worthwhile in life into a few hours on a golf course or in a bar, or into a two week vacation on the beach. There isn't enough time to have a work life, a family life, a love life, a life of hope and dreams, all lived separately.

Marti Smye, Author of Corporate Abuse



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