Performing a Regular Career Tune-Up Can Keep You Ahead of Economic Downturns

By DonShook

In today’s economy, we are all cutting back on expenses, taking time to find the best deals, holding on to our family home when we actually want to downsize and repairing or tuning up our vehicle instead of selling the car and buying new.

This same “consider the state of the economy” mindset should be used as you examine the state of your career.

Career Tune-up Action Items

Take a realistic look at your career, the mileage on your career ‘car’, the maintenance you have performed in the past and the maintenance you have postponed. Does your career ‘car’ have some miles but you faithfully adopted a continuous improvement, learning mastery approach early in your career? Have you kept up with the trends; obtained additional degrees or certifications; networked effectively with influencers and leaders in your organization and in your field; helped others along the way; filled key professional association roles; attended to and enhanced your brand and reputation in the marketplace?

If so, you need to continue to invest in your current career ‘car’ and also start researching the best new models that allows you to use all of the knowledge and skills you have garnered over the years of career ownership. Do you need to keep the current career ‘car’ for a time while you simultaneously test drive a number of new models, do some comparison shopping, talk to others in your target career ‘cars’ and prepare yourself for the care and maintenance of the new career ‘car’.

For those maintenance items you may have postponed, decide now to put together a reasonable plan to handle the deferred maintenance items. For example, do you need to join a professional association? Or, would your upward career mobility be better served by writing a series of articles for a national publication, meeting influencers, or becoming a thought leader?

Designing a New Career ‘Car’

If you have been solely focused on driving your career ‘car’ and you have not performed regular maintenance, you may find yourself obsolete and afraid of being downsized. Before this happens, start performing the necessary career ‘car’ maintenance now and plan to design and implement a new career!

  1. Research the trends and what’s happening in your organization, your career field, your city, region, state and nationally.
  2. Decide on methods to update your competencies and skills. Go back to school; obtain certifications; volunteer for a leadership or board in a professional association; network effectively; re-brand yourself; utilize social networks effectively; practice interviewing; comment on industry blogs; attend one major education oriented conference each year; write articles for your field or industry trade publications; identify additional streams of revenue and put a plan in place to initiate other forms of revenue generation.
  3. Develop a Five Year Career Plan Platform that identifies your vision, your values, your brand, the strategy you will use and an associated step-by-step action plan for achievement.
  4. Get coaching from a professional career coach, a university career counselor, or from taking free online career assessments.

If you have always performed periodic maintenance on your career, you are ahead of the game. If you have not been taking great care of your career, you will need to take immediate remedial and renewing actions. Following these recommendations during each stage of your career will keep you well ahead of negative economic shifts.

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Christine M. Glasco consults to company executives, business owners and non-profit leaders on career management/career transformation strategies and strategic leadership development solutions. To provide you with clarity on how to achieve the next steps in your career, go to and request a complimentary copy of “Is Your Career on Track? Assessment and e-Workbook”.