3.3 Career resilience and change
There is some evidence to suggest that the more career resilient you perceive yourself to be, the less likely you are to think about changing career (Mishra and McDonald, 2017, p. 225).
However, it could also be argued that the greater your career resilience, the more confident you will feel about proactively making the changes needed in order to achieve your career goals. In their description of career resilience, Schreuder and Coetzee (2011) talk about a willingness to take risks and an ability to adapt to changing situations by accepting job and organisational changes.
In previous generations, individuals could often expect a job for life – working for the same company for 40 years. In 2019, the average time spent in a job in the UK was estimated to be 8 years (Buchholtz, 2020), so most of us can expect to change our job or even our career direction at some point.
Another significant step away from the job for life has been the introduction of the portfolio career, defined by the Oxford English Dictionary (2021) as:
‘Designating, involving, or following a pattern of employment characterized by a succession of short-term contracts or part-time work, rather than the more traditional career model of a long-term, full-time job.’
From a career change perspective, this might be seen by some as a more extreme scenario – changing from one career to several. Career resilience plays a key role, as the individual is actively seeking a path that often provides less security and requires them to have greater confidence in their skills and abilities.
Activity 6 Portfolio careers
Watch this video about a teacher from New Zealand and her portfolio career, and consider the ways in which she has demonstrated career resilience. Make a note of your ideas in the box below.
There are a number of ways in which Bea has demonstrated career resilience:
She made a proactive decision to change her career direction after several years in teaching as she didn’t have the right work life balance.
She was able to juggle as many as 12 different work activities by being organised and proactive.
She spent time working out what she enjoyed and eventually decided to focus on teaching pilates – combining many of the skills she had developed during her portfolio career stage.
As you’ve already seen, career resilience is a very relevant theme when exploring responses to change. In the next section, you’ll look more closely at the links between the two.