All Posts by Eileen Chadnick

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Aug 01

What Does It Take To Make A Successful Career Transition?

By Eileen Chadnick | Find A Career That Fits

What Does It Take To Make A Successful Career Transition


by Eileen Chadnick, Career Counsellor & Leadership Coach

Career transition can be exhilarating, daunting, frustrating, and rewarding – often all at the same time!

As a coach, it’s extremely heartening to see a client succeed with their career transition goals – and even more so when the client has had to deal with more than their share of challenges. 

When people ask what makes for a success career transition effort, I will think of Frank. Frank came to Careers By Design with some big career challenges. He had just left a career of 30 years in international development work and set out to find his first Canadian job in Toronto.

Frank confessed to knowing little-to-nothing about the Canadian career landscape and didn’t know how to go about finding employment that fit his interests and qualifications.

While his career experience had been meaningful and rich, it didn’t translate into obvious roles in Toronto. He felt lost and overwhelmed.

Our partnership was one where we introduced Frank to a career navigation approach with lots of guidance and support along the way. Frank’s responsibility was to lean in and do the actual work. Lots of it!

A Learning Journey

This process was about more than landing a job. Frank learned a lot about himself including his strengths (transferable skills and character strengths), values, needs, and aspirations.

He also learned to challenge some of his assumptions and try on new possibilities. He had some wins and then many bumps. He learned how to deal with the set-backs and with each one, he accessed his resourcefulness and resilience and found ways to learn from them and move forward.

Eventually he landed a fantastic job that fit his skills and preferences beautifully.

The role even exceeded his best hopes. It’s not always easy to make a career change – especially in the later stages of your career. But, as Frank demonstrated, it’s possible if you commit to the process and do the work.

Here's what it takes to succeed...

Know yourself – Clients often want to jump to the ‘find the job’ phase but it’s hard to do this if you haven’t taken the time to learn about yourself. Knowing your array of strengths, special talents, values, and aspirations is imperative to honing in on the right path and telling your story effectively.

The ‘know yourself’ phase gives you the awareness that serves as a ‘compass’ to making good career decisions and convey your career narrative with more efficacy.

Hard work and commitment – While coaching provides guidance, a sounding board, and encouragement, the client must be willing to do the work. This might include digging in to learn about their strengths; doing research on career ideas; working on career branding materials; digging into the job search; stretching yourself (in courage and effort) in networking – and much more.

Courage – Making changes can be scary and especially when the road ahead is unknown. We often tell clients that making changes isn’t about eliminating the fear. Instead, it’s about learning to tap into your courage. Even if only one moment at a time. It’s okay to feel a little fear if you remember to access your courage and take the action steps that will move you forward.

Open minded & adaptable – Clients often come to coaching with some starting ideas about their career next steps. This is terrific. It’s just as important to be able to pivot and show adaptability as you learn about the changing realities within the Canadian job market. This adaptability can expand your possibilities.

Hope & gratitude – Career navigation can be tough sometimes. It takes grit, persistence and a whole bunch of hope and optimism. It’s crucial that you never give up. Finding ways for authentic appreciation and hope can fuel you forward. We take this part as seriously as the job finding tactics! 

Frank had his share of tough moments along the way, but he always rebounded and found ways to stay connected to positivity, hope, and gratitude. In the end, his persistence and heartiness paid off and he was rewarded with a fabulous new start in Toronto. It was a pleasure to work with Frank. He inspired me and I’m grateful for the opportunity.

Are you thinking of a career change? Get inspired & read Frank's story in his own words on my bio page. 

Call us today at 1-888-977-6284 or learn more about our unique approach.

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Give us just one hour & we'll get you started on the path to career happiness.

How to boost your security in the gig economy
Dec 04

How to Boost Your Security in the Gig Economy

By Eileen Chadnick | Land the Right Job



by Eileen Chadnick, Leadership Coach, Careers by Design

Lately I've been having a lot of conversations about career stability.

Clients – of all ages and experience – are expressing some anxiety around the new way of work, which is increasingly contract- and gig-oriented.

Surprisingly, many within the millennial generation are voicing this concern, wanting to settle into something more secure. Trying to get traction in their careers, they want a full-time, long-term job with benefits, growth potential/vertical-promotion possibilities … in other words, some of what their boomer parents had in their careers.

Uh oh. Those times have changed.

Welcome to the gig economy. Get a gig, then another, and another …

Stability and security are reasonable wants but today's career landscape is increasingly different from that which the boomer generation navigated. We're now deep into the gig economy.

The rules have changed.

Increasingly, organizations are shifting to what can be described as an "agile work force." More contract and freelance hiring, which lends itself to a more dynamic and flexible work force serving "just-in-time" needs and evolving requirements. While "FTE" (full-time equivalent) roles still have a significant place in our career landscape, it's a good idea to hold that notion of "permanent" lightly these days. Organizations change, restructure, merge. Needs change. Even a full-time, so-called "permanent" role can turn out to be a "gig," too.

But all this doesn't mean we have to completely forego the notion of career security. We just need a new approach and mindset about career security for today's realities.

Here are a few ways to get some career security in the gig economy.

Stay nimble; be quick:

Much of your career security will depend on how quickly you can adapt – either within your current role or on to another.

The pace of change continues to accelerate.

Ambiguity mixed with frequent (often sudden) change will increasingly be the norm. Those who can learn to roll with this will find themselves more secure in their job prospects and within their emotional well-being.

Know your superpowers:

According to a LinkedIn @Work study, Canadians are known to be modest. This is not an asset; it's a potential derailer.

The gig economy will insist you get to know yourself better, because you will need to sell yourself again and again.

Knowing your skills, accomplishments and superpowers will give you confidence (valuable in itself), and help you get your next gig as you continuously "fertilize" and freshen up your career narrative (in your résumé, LinkedIn, interviews, etc.). 

Of course, it will be key to make sure your evolving skills are current and in demand.

Leave nothing on the table:

A new gig can provide a new opportunity to expand your career potential by learning new skills, meeting new people (for career-long networking) and conquering new challenges.

Even if a gig isn't ideal, you might still find something of value in the experience. With the perspective that nothing is wasted, then every experience can serve a purpose.

Optimize, maximize and make sure every gig matters in some way.

Be open to lateral moves:

If you think the only way to grow is via vertical ascent, think again. Lateral moves can be expansive, too.

Don't get too stuck on titles; many people have built robust careers with some side steps and zig-zag moves.

Build - don't burn bridges:

In a gig economy, you will meet a lot more people in your career. You will also end/leave jobs more often. Build bridges wherever you go and continue to nurture a healthy network.

Give, don't just take. And never burn a bridge when leaving or completing a contract, even if it was a toxic experience.

Always exit with grace and professionalism. You never know who you will meet in your next gig and/or need a reference from.

Build your inner game resilience:

A gig career has many benefits – but no question, it can also be stressful. Learn to manage anxiety when in times of uncertainty. Your mental, emotional and physical well-being will be a significant factor to your success. Take it seriously and invest in your inner game.

Money matters:

With less certainty and potentially more income interruptions, the gig economy can present new financial realities. Spend within your means and save more for those rainy days. Get advice from a financial planning professional who understands and can advise in this new paradigm. Doesn't hurt to shore up on your own financial literacy, too.

The gig economy presents new challenges (and opportunities) for all of us but with the right moves you can create more security in your "career-ability." Stay focused and do your best work wherever you go. Build healthy networks. Concurrently, keep your eyes open and on the horizon and always be career-ready for your next move.

This article first appeared at The Globe and Mail and has been reprinted with permission.

Want to Get Started?

It's time for your Turning Point.

Give us just one hour & we'll show you the key to a happy and exciting career!

Jan 06

Look Back to Plan Ahead in Your Career

By Eileen Chadnick | Career Change


by Eileen Chadnick, Career Counsellor, Leadership & Life Coach

The start of the year is a time to reflect, take stock of the year past, and plan for the year ahead. Each year I share an article with 12 questions to help guide a year-end reflection.

A year has passed yet it feels like a nano-moment since the last year-end reflection. Not surprising – our lives, work and society move at an unprecedented pace.

Whether you identify with the innovation notion or not, the core message is that significant forces are creating seismic changes in how we live and work. No one individual, organization, or even sector is immune from the disruptive changes at play.

A few years back taxi drivers, photo technicians, music/video stores, and travel agents may have been the early face of this disruption narrative — but today even those with seemingly steady careers within traditionally stable sectors like banking, financial services, and other areas – are confronting new realities.

The year behind:

1. What went well?

This is a staple question I ask each year. It’s far too easy to bypass the wins and the good that comes within any year. When working hard, fast, and often in challenging contexts, our brains tend to erase the positive as we focus on the loads and pressures at hand. But remembering the good fuels our wellbeing and gives us internal resources to step up to the challenges. Take stock of what went well this year and know that nothing is too small to own, celebrate and bring forward as positive fuel for the days and year ahead.

Of course, it can also be useful to acknowledge what might not have gone so well — especially if you can learn from those circumstances and/or at least be grateful for having worked through them. Acknowledging the good isn’t about suppressing what needs to be expressed. The next few questions might, in fact, give you some food for thought to mine for meaning from those tougher moments of 2016.

2. What surprised you? (US elections aside)

Life is always full of surprises and these days more so than ever. Whether for better or otherwise, the skills of the day are adaptability, heartiness, and resourcefulness. Reflect on the surprises that came your way – and then on how you responded. What do you notice about your ability to adapt and pivot within the unexpected? Those who are nimble and quick are better primed to seize opportunities and work with change. Resistors insisting on certainty and/or the same way of doing things can find themselves stressed out and side-lined.

3. What did last year teach you?

Every experience for better or worse can be a ‘teacher’ if we use it well. How did you grow from your year? What insights, knowledge, skills were gained or reinforced? Consider those beyond just the technical skills by reflecting on skills related to self awareness, trust, adaptability, resourcefulness, resilience. These core internal skills are critical today and will stead you well in the year(s) ahead.

4. What are you noticing or even having hunches about?

Sometimes if feels like change comes out of the blue. But often there are early signs and/or hints abound. Think about the year past and your world of work (and life). What signs or even inklings of change need to be heeded? Where might the opportunities come from? What are you ignoring that can put you at risk? Paying attention with an open mind and some self trust can prepare you better for even the seemingly unknown.

5. What needs to be left behind?

Old ideas, poor habits, and self-limiting behaviours – ahh, who doesn’t have at least a few of these? When life and work pressures demand the best of us it is a good idea to take stock of what’s no longer working and might be holding us back. Also, ask yourself if it’s time to let some doors close this year (if they must) and shift your energy to new areas of opportunity? Where do you need to discard ideas, strategies, and ways of doing things that don’t work any more despite your best efforts? Perhaps there might even be relationships that need to be let go or less heavily invested in?

6. Wrap up your year with a name that fits.

Give 2016 the distinctive, memorable quality it deserves by considering the stand-out experiences and lessons and complete this phrase: “2016 was the year of ___.

The year ahead:

7) Where do you need to go next?

Think about the changes showing up (internally and externally). What’s next for you professionally and personally? Even if you don’t have precise answers yet, staying in this question will keep you on your toes so that you can plan and pivot to opportunities more easily. To paraphrase the famous words conveyed by Wayne Gretzky, ‘focus on where the puck is headed and skate towards there.’

8) How will you evolve in the year ahead?

While you can’t predict the whole picture, it’s a good idea to get intentional in your development and identify new skills, experiences and knowledge that will help you grow. Visualize yourself at the end of 2017 and ask in what ways will you have grown? This is your chance to reflect so you can plan for this to happen.

9) What are your top goals?

Now it’s time to get specific and concrete. Forget resolutions – they don’t work. But goals – if meaningful, relevant and backed up with a plan — can provide focus, direction, a sense of purpose, and energize you with new motivation. Got any goals for yourself?

10) Who will you connect with?

Don’t wait for sudden change to test the strength of your network and relationships – invest now. Take stock and make a commitment to connect meaningfully, authentically with those important to you. Expand and/or deepen your professional and personal network and find ways to show reciprocity by giving back to others.

11) How will you navigate ambiguity and uncertainty?

Ambiguity and uncertainty often comes with disruptive change. How do you cope (thrive) in the unknown? Those who do well tend to foster flexible, resilient, hearty mindsets – along with other skills. Take heed, if not yet natural strengths, know that we can all tap into our deep-rooted capacities to adapt, learn, and find heartiness even in challenging conditions. Start by setting the intention and then commit. Then don’t be afraid to seek support in developing these skills.

12) What’s your mantra for 2017:

What stands out for you that marks your intentions for the year ahead? Create a mantra to hold on to this by completing this phrase: 2017 will be the year of _____.

Note: A version of this article appeared in The Globe & Mail and Huffington Post.