Earlier this month, mwah. hosted our final Break Out Breakfast of the year – which was all about how we could reimagine careers.

We shared a healthy breakfast, and explored the concept of ‘career’ with a room filled with our guests – who soon learned they were our guest speakers!

Perhaps a little cheeky, but a fantastic opportunity for the group to share their unique career experiences and insights.

For those that couldn’t get along in person in the run up to the silly season, here are a selection of some of the key discussion points for you to consider over a glass of mulled wine.

Careers are…?

We opened on what careers are.

They are an adventure that keeps getting bigger, unfurls, has challenges, growth, setbacks.

Most of us are in jobs.

We give them focus and they form part of our identity.

If something happens through our lives and we are pulled away from that job, there is a real risk to our identity, a void.

We are proud of our jobs, our careers and our lives.

If we ask people to describe themselves in 5 words, in nearly any setting, water cooler or BBQ, many give their job or title, both perhaps.

They may describe their passion, less likely their personality and less again their emotion.

Maybe they’ll get past their title to their real profession.

This is where it becomes interesting – where distinction can be drawn between a job or role and a profession or career.

The balance of ‘I work as’ vs. ‘I am a’. Just one example to illustrate being my current role is as an Author, my profession/career is writing.

There was also a view that we can drive our career pathways, through the decisions we make, the influences we let in, those we shut out. However, we ponder whether careers only really happen when you look back at them in hindsight.

So, after a great opening discussion, we landed on the clear interconnectivity between career and life. They are not separate. We didn’t land on our own definition – but careers are journeys through life, with richness gained from the collections of jobs and experiences we have.

Disruption as an opportunity to learn at greater pace

Disruption is the new black. It’s in vogue. In nearly every article. All the time.

We briefly explored what disruption and technological advancements will do to roles in the future. We explore the jobs and even whole professions that are heading into extinction –secretaries, truck drivers, even coders and maybe lawyers.

But, very much in line with the Future of Work report done by Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre earlier this year, there was an inherent optimism around the impact of science and technology to fuel innovation, to improve jobs and particularly offer opportunity to future generations.

There was a key sense that an openness, adaptiveness and flexibility to learn something new with eagerness and enthusiasm at any life stage and the positive mindset that goes with that would hold careers in good shape.

Along with faster technology, automated processes, agile and other ways of working comes an opportunity to learn at greater pace (and in a variety of ways).

Success is impact, not title

Title matters for some, maybe at certain career or life points it matters more. For many the last title held isn’t what they will be remembered for, it’s about the impact they have on the world.

What they did that made a difference, to have a lasting legacy.

We had a beautiful story from Nic Brennan, whose humour we remember, but title we forget. What we remember is that Nic played a pivotal role in the LGBTI network ‘Unity’ and shared a defining moment in her career. Nic alluded to the payoff for all the hard work with Unity when a young transgender woman from regional Australia knew where to get support from, without fear or judgement. Success is impact.

Build a genuine network

We have all felt this one. Those that network to take, and those that network with authenticity, generosity and reciprocity in mind.

Ignoring the first bucket, in the second, when you ask for help you get it and you’re willing to do the same.

While there is no need to count, both of you know when the other ‘owes me one’ (and you know they’re good for it, it won’t be like pulling teeth when you need to call it in!).

We spoke to the richness of connectivity, particularly with a cohort of people that go with you through your career.

They enjoy similar rates and levels of progression, of influence and you’ve built relationship strength over years – which helps you navigate your career in a multitude of ways.

Advice from attendees

If disruption is the new black, success is impact and genuine networks are key, then the advice from attendees provides great clues on a meaningful and reimagined career.

  • Everyone is watching you, so whether things go well or not, people are watching how you react.
  • Be comfortable in your current role and find space to stretch yourself to try new things
    rather than being comfortable staying in the status quo of your current role.
  • The Board of Directors/Advisors approach to mentoring. This may not be new, but it’s the idea of bringing a range of mentors in to the mix to bring diverse thought and perspective to your objectives, career stage and so forth.
  • Everyone is faking it sometimes. Faking it is stretching yourself until you’ve made it and goes with don’t say no, give everything a good crack. This ties nicely to the point on adaptiveness. Be open, try things and back yourself.
  • You don’t have to change your natural state to be a leader. You don’t have to radically change yourself or fit to some sort of Leadership mould. It’s about acutely understanding your natural state, and enhancing that to lead FOR others.

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