Category Archives: resilience

Job search: Are you missing in action?

Off the radar

Getting on the job search radar!
I have spent the past week with two different women, of two different ages. Their backgrounds could not be further apart. One is a young graduate, seeking entry-level employment, the other a woman in her 40s, with extensive supply chain and procurement experience, as well as an MBA. She has taken an eight year parenting break, relocated internationally with her husband and is now dealing with the inevitable challenge of explaining motherhood and her CV gap.

Both want to enter the workplace. Both are struggling. Both are drifting off the job search track and are M.I.A. Despite feeling they had nothing in common, even just idle chat reveals the numerous common elements. Not only were they simply failing to get the jobs they wanted ( when they could even find a job they were interested in) they were receiving no response to their CVs, sometimes not even a rejection letter.

Back on track
All job search candidates regardless of age, gender or time in life need to have some basics in place, so here are some easy tips to get back on track:

  •  Identify and articulate transferable skills. It doesn’t matter how you do this but this is a critical exercise, taking time and thought. I repeat my mantra – if you don’t know what you’re good at, how do you expect anyone else to know? Recruiters and hiring managers are not telepathic and don’t have the time to drag it out of you.
  •  This basic but critical exercise leads to the creation of an effective mission statement and elevator sounds bites. CVs should stop disappearing into cyber space and interview performance will be strengthened. If there is any hesitation in delivering your USPs – practise and practise again!
  •   Establish and develop a professional online presence. This is vital for anyone, male or female, young or old, entry-level or transitioning. Failure to do this is tantamount to professional suicide. The entry-level woman had received no advice from her university careers advisor to create this type of profile, which in my view is a scandal in itself! Careers advisors – read my open letter! The older candidate needs to resurrect and tap into her existing network from her days as a professional woman and connect with them virtually on platforms which simply did not exist when she was in the workplace ( LinkedIn, Twitter, Google +) This small step shows you care about your professional image and that you are current in your approach. Your LinkedIn profile url can also be used in an email signature or on other online profiles as a way of extending the reach of your CV.
  •  Create a modern CV with targeted keyword usage. Their current versions are probably not getting past ATS ( Applicant Tracking Systems) or coming to the attention of recruitment sourcers. 97% of CVs, it is maintained, are not read by a human eye! Once again this could account for a failure to obtain an even a first interview.
  •  Most jobs (estimated at 85%) are not advertised. Creating a strong online presence and strengthening a personal brand will drive traffic to your professional profile. It’s no longer about looking for a job – it’s also about raising visibility to ensure you are found. Many jobs are also only advertised on LinkedIn.
  •  There is no substitute for strategic networking at any age and stage. No matter how young you are, or how long it’s been since you were in the workplace, we are all connected to someone! Have some simple, but good quality business cards printed – you never know when you need them! Connect and re-connect. Join networking groups and professional bodies especially if any membership has lapsed during a career break.
  •  Be active. Inactivity is not just a barrier to getting top jobs, it’s a barrier to getting any job! It’s also a great way to beat negative thinking, and maintaining your confidence, vital in job search. It also gives you data to monitor, from which you can make any changes to your job seeking strategy.
  •   Tweak those strategies . Don’t panic and especially don’t be afraid to change. Nothing is set in stone and what works in one set of circumstances may sink like a lead balloon in another! Be flexible

But most importantly never give up. The estimated time to get a job is reported to be on average a minimum of 7 months currently. If you carry on struggling – seek professional help. It will be worth it in the long-term!

Good luck!

HELP! I hate my job!

I HATE my job!

What to do when you HATE your job with a passion!
I spent time last week coaching a young professional who hated his job in a small, family run organisation. In fact he hated it so badly that the things he claimed he would rather be doing instead, covered all manner of unspeakable things, too awful to mention involving finger nails, dentists and Kabul. You get the picture.

Stress
He hated the work, he hated his bosses, he hated his colleagues. He vented for a while, but when we got into specifics, mostly he hated the way he was treated and spoken to, but above all he hated the chaos and the stress. He outlined some of the issues that especially caused him grief and truthfully those practices at best would be considered bad management, and at worst, workplace bullying. Attempts to self advocate had been unceremoniously dismissed and there was no HR function.

Leopards and spots
I have worked in this type of family run, small business and know the environment well. The words leopards and spots, blood and water come to mind. It is unlikely that any employee will be able to make a dent in that can of worms and undo not just decades of working habits, but also family culture, when normal business protocols generally don’t apply. In a small organization, transferring to another department or changing job functions are not options, so for this young man there seemed to be 2 choices – stay or go.

Hating your job isn’t good. We spend 2000 hours a year in the workplace at least, so it’s hard to pitch up at the office to do something you passionately dislike. Usually if you hate your job everyone can tell and will interact accordingly. Being desperately unhappy will also affect performance and added stress leads to mistakes, creating a vicious cycle of poor interaction, escalating tension and mis- managed expectations.

Why
There are many of reasons people end up in jobs they hate: inadequate hiring processes and poor candidate decisions to name but two. During the recession many people took jobs that weren’t ideal simply to pay their bills. Jobs and situations also change after the start date creating unanticipated circumstances.

Work on you

In any situation the only person you can change is yourself.

Manage your emotions. Don’t resign in a fit of desperation. Pique doesn’t pay the bills, you do and they will not go away. It is also easier to get a job from a job.
Do some inner work. Time to review your life and professional goals and complete a C.A.R.S. analysis (Challenges, Actions, Results , Skills). Make sure you know what you’re good at and what you goals are.
Make a list of what you like about the jobs – there will always be something.
Change your attitude. If you go into the office looking down, are detached, act dejected and withdrawn, your colleagues will feed off that and respond accordingly.
Check your work. Stress impacts accuracy and you are more likely to make careless mistakes. Create a “To do” list every night for the following day, making sure you schedule the work you hate the most first or at your period of highest energy. Feeling that you have achieved something, even when you loathe doing it will make you feel better.
Find a mentor – someone who can guide you. Even in a small company there has to be one person you can ask for advice.
Silence is golden – don’t post your dislike of your work situation on Facebook or Twitter. Bosses use social media too.
Monitor your health – stress impacts everyone in different ways. Exercise, see friends, eat healthily, have enough sleep and make time for you. If you find you are struggling with anything seek professional help.
Start your job search discreetly and reach into your network. Let search and recruitment contacts know that you are open for a move.
Prepare your interview story. Don’t bad mouth your company. A skilled interviewer will be able to interpret what you don’t say if you focus on your future requirements.
Resign correctly – give the appropriate amount of notice and leave your desk and workload in mint handover condition.
Leave graciously – you may not realise it yet but you have had a substantial learning experience and developed many key skills: resilience, diligence, commitment, focus. If your colleagues behave badly you will always know that you did the right thing.

But above all , you will make better choices next time!

Moving on from bullying: leave a legacy


This post was orignally a guest post for Ann Lewis author of “Recover your balance: How to bounce back from bad times at work”

Take a stand
In my research for my series on the bullying of women in the work place by women, I was contacted by a huge number of women and somewhat surprisingly men too. Most of this communication was private.

Two messages
This sent me two messages: the first was that bullying is still a shame based experience leaving many unable to openly admit that it had happened. The other was that individuals who had been targets, even years later, went to considerable lengths not only to protect the identity of the perpetrators, but also the organisations where they worked. In many cases little or nothing had been done to support them. In essence, the bullied had become part of an enabling process which allowed repeat offenders to continue abusive behaviour.

Could I say they these victims had moved on?
No, not really. Many had simply resigned and left organisational life to become corporate refugees by working freelance or starting their own business. Some went onto be bullied in subsequent jobs. Others had abandoned their careers totally. Most were scarred, still bewildered and angry. Many had had such horrific experiences, which in my naivety I had previously only associated with movie story lines.

Premeditated sabotage strategies aside, on a daily basis many accused bullies (especially women) have no idea that their behaviour is perceived as « bullying « and are quite shocked or even distressed when finally challenged. So it seems that the bullying process can be viewed as a breakdown, or absence of, constructive communication, with each party needing to assume responsibility for their own role in the dysfunctional dynamic.

Tri-partite responsibility
• The responsibility of the “ target” is to communicate his/her perception of the situation and follow through as required . Failure to do this can mean staying stuck in a negative position, which is tantamount to handing over personal power to both the bully and the organisation.
• The responsibility of the bully is to change his/her behaviour and communication style to acceptable norms.
• The responsibility of the organisation is to ensure that it is carried out.

What would I suggest to anyone who feels that they are being bullied?

• Research corporate and sector guidelines. Most countries have no legislation to deal with bullying, although that is changing. Benchmark your experience against those checklists.
• Seek professional help early in the process. This is good investment. You are experiencing a trauma! If you were suffering a wound to your leg, would you try and treat it yourself? No! You’d see a doctor!
• Work on strategies to self advocate and heal. Focus on becoming “unstuck” and taking responsibility for retreiving your own position .
• In tandem set up an audit trail of abusive treatment. Document and note each incident. This will be useful in any internal inquires or even eventual legal action.
• Find a mentor. Someone who can support and validate you professionally.

Strategic challenge
Walking away from a bad experience maybe sufficient for some to heal and I agree that in a number of instances, “letting go” will do it. However, the individuals who seemed be in the best place, were the very few who had found the courage to challenge the bully in a constructive and strategic way, as well as tenaciously dealing with the organisations where the bullying had occurred, even to the point of legal action.

Cultural contribution
This is not about revenge, although I’m sure for some individuals that might play a satisfying part. Stepping up in this way is also about contributing to the cultural change of what is acceptable workplace behaviour. It will raise public awareness to prevent the same thing happening to others. This transparency also obliges organisations to enforce (rather than pay lip service to) workplace protocols instead of intervening only when the bottom line is negatively impacted. Think of the significant advances that have happened over the last 40 years in the areas of discrimination against women, minorities or the physically impaired. This has been the cumulative result of individual as well as group action.

So somehow, and easier said than done I know, the targets of bullying need to dig deep to find the courage to step up and take a stand, not just for their own recovery, but for the protection of our future working environments. To quote Martin Luther King “Justice denied anywhere, diminishes justice everywhere

That is when personal moving on also leaves a legacy.

What do you think?

Tennis and job search

Yes really … there’s a connection

OK – bear with me! I know at least one Olympic sportsman who might smile at this post and other high level athletes among you who could well howl laughing. I’m clearly not some sporting, ATP wunderkind champion, turned coach, just an ordinary, club level tennis enthusiast, of a certain age, with certainly more enthusiasm than skill. Like most of us! Which is why this will resonate.

Like you I play a sport. My game is tennis. Sort of. By that I mean I turn up at my club, with the right equipment, correctly attired and I participate. I like to win, but like many women will lose gracefully if I feel I’ve played well. Truthfully, I’m thrilled if I win. Sound familiar?

The right question

A life time of high impact sport has left me with a hip injury, not life threatening, just wear and tear. When I heard the news I was upset. It seemed my tennis playing days were over. Happily for me, my doubles group ( singles games rest firmly in my past) had a tennis coach who gently suggested that I was asking the wrong question. The question he told me I should be asking ask myself was not how much longer could I play tennis, but how well could I play tennis with a dodgy hip? Bearing in mind of course I live in a country where tennis and chocolate are national pastimes and are given serious consideration in equal measure. My next question will certainly be “how can I lose weight and still eat chocolate?”.

Strategy

When the mind is willing but the hip is weak and you can’t play tennis with your legs, even at my very basic level, you have to play with your head (not forgetting the racquet and balls of course). We worked on strategies to win points early in the rally (tip: move me around the court for too long and unless you make a mistake… the point is yours). He strengthened my net game, serve, slice and lob. Because I can’t chase balls down like Justine, Serena or Kim (not that I ever could!), I have to step back and construct a point strategically. I have to think ahead. I have to look for gaps. I have to tell my partners they might have to step in as the “legs”. This involves communicating and taking a few risks. Some work well and actually… some are spectacularly unsuccessful. And I lose not only the point, but the game.

So how is this a metaphor for job seekers?

• It means seeking good advice and support.
• It means letting go of negative self sabotaging “can’t do, give up ” thinking and replacing it with ‘how can I?” thoughts.
• It means staying real and working on something achievable in small steps.
• It means recognising weak points in our backgrounds and experience that can make us vulnerable. But understanding that it doesn’t mean we are out of the game.
• It means that we have to adapt, learn new skills to overcome any deficits.
• It means practising. Repeat actions produce results.
• It means not taking set backs to heart. Change the strategies as required. Missing one shot doesn’t mean we’re failures – it just means we missed that particular shot.
• It requires self insight and open communication with ourselves and judiciously, when the time is right with any colleagues and / or employers.
• It means having a plan and a strategy that makes us think ahead in our chosen game.
• It means also having a Plan B

But more than anything else it means asking ourselves the right questions.

Anyone for golf perhaps?

Special thanks to Silvana Delatte ( a great tennis buddy) who thought this story was worth recounting.

Career reflection: Could you get your own job?

What would happen if you had to apply for your own job?
In the past year I have been conscious of , and written extensively about,  the pace of change in my particular  field which seems to be greater than ever before. It’s hard to keep up!  Every time I learn something new, I have to get to grips with something  even newer.  I cannot imagine I am alone in this position!  I also coach people in transition in various professions and sectors and advise them always of the need to stay up dated in their fields.  But what about  people not looking for jobs or directly at risk in any way?

Could they successfully apply for their own jobs?

Could you?

One of the cruellest spin offs of any organisational re-structuring is that sometimes employees are invited to re-apply for their own jobs, frequently when they have been in post for many years and have considerable seniority and  experience. But does this mean that they are necessarily the best candidate for the job as it exists now in the current environment and climate? Regrettably not always.

There are a number of counter arguments to this thesis.

Organisational responsibility
Many will say it’s the  responsibility of the organisation to ensure than their employees are trained and up to date in any developments in their field and are performing to the best of their abilities. To  some extent this could be true.

Any switched-on company committed to employee development  will do this,  seeing  peak employee performance and talent management  as  intrinsic to bottom line success.  But in times of economic stringency and turbulence,  when training budgets have been slashed, updating employees  and keeping them up to speed may not be their top priority.  This is set against a background of quite often incomplete , inadequate, and irregular performance appraisal  which limits meaningful feedback from any manager to  his/her reports. Essentially many employees have no real idea of how they are actually doing, or where their strengths and weaknesses lie on the ideal candidate spectrum.

Avoid complacency
Many of you will also say that it’s no way to live,  or work,  in a state of permanent insecurity always worrying about someone coming in to take over your job. That’s also true.  But complacency isn’t a good state either. One of the things we have all learned in this current economic crisis is that there are no certainties in life. So perhaps  it would be foolish to sit and wait for someone else to take responsibility for your career  and ultimately your life. Many people who are moved sideways, demoted, have promotion disappointments or who get fired,  very often don’t see it coming.   Many of  us are wedded to our tried and trusted ways of operating. Even though we might acknowledge a need to do things  differently at one level (mainly intellectual),  we still struggle to implement  practical change. It doesn’t matter if it’s C-suite level of Fortune 500 companies  or middle managers in SMEs, taking that step to honestly and brutally self appraise is never easy.

It’s also not just about the arrogance of captains of industry such as Fred “The Shred” Goodwin,   or the senior executives of General Motors or Lehman Brothers who failed miserably to understand the limitations of their own performance, until of course it was too late. It’s important for us all to  consciously examine our own roles in relation to the market and be aware and take care of any short fall.

So  maybe start asking  yourself the following questions:

  •  How qualified  am I for this position,  not necessarily always  in  terms of educational certificates,  but in experience?
  • Is my knowledge current?
  • What improvements could/should I make to may own skill set and performance to achieve better results?
  • What other changes would I make ?
  • What is my mission statement?
  • Can my contribution be measured?
  • Do I look for ,  process and act on constructive feedback?
  • What value do I add?
  • Do I know my own worth? Do my bosses, peers, and reports?
  • Who could replace me?

So… would you hire …you?

Coaching: The Susan Boyle Effect

Susan Boyle’s audition on  the show “Britain’s Got Talent”  is apparently the most watched with 280 million hits in the first 6 weeks. We’ve all seen it – some of us multiple times ( .. me !).

We rejoiced and delighted at so many myths and stereotypes being debunked in just a few minutes right in front of our eyes.  Ageism, look-ism ( is that a word?), economic demographics, personality types, educational backgrounds, academic ability. This wasn’t some bo-toxed, surgically enhanced, pelvis gyrating, cleavage heaving, teenage fashionista making it  – but  someone we could all relate to. A neighbour, an aunt,  a friend… our mothers . Despite the slick editing and the clever stage management of the event  ( the producers had  to know surely of the potential talent), we all felt the sheer joy of the establishment having the wind taken out of its  smug, self important, arrogant sails. Someone unexpectedly was defying all odds and achieving their dream right there on our HD  flat screen or lap tops. And ironically of course, that was the name of the song.

Core talent 

But there was one thing that was very different about Susan Boyle. She really could sing. I believe wholeheartedly that we are all good at something. Does this mean overnight  stardom or success is guaranteed,  no matter how hard we work or try?  Regrettably – no  it doesn’t!

The celebrity obsession

We live in an era where  for many, being famous or a celebrity  has now become a goal in itself .  According to USA Today 51% of 18- 24 year olds want to be famous  – but they are not quite sure how or why. This culture of celebrity envy and worship changes our expectations. But the reality is that most of us every day people have to content ourselves with what Napoleon Hill sums up: “ If you can’t do great things, do small things in a great way

Keep it real

As coaches we support clients in identifying their passions and pursuing their dreams. But at the same  time we also have to introduce a  reality check.  It’s not easy to fly in the face of the culture of wholesale, bumper sticker type positive thinking slogans.  Although I love the fairy story element of success stories such as Susan Boyle’s,  or anyone else fulfilling life long dreams – goals need to be as realistic and achievable as possible.  Otherwise we are set up to fail.

Keep it achievable

I know this is  going to be percieved  in some circles as more of an equatorial downpour  than rain on the general parade.  But sorry,  if  you don’t have a good voice – you will probably never be a great singer. But that doesn’t mean to say you can’t still enjoy singing or improve.   In the words of Albert Einstein, somewhat cleverer than myself, “ Try not to become a man of success. Rather become a man of value.”

Look at other avenues

There is also no law that says all personal satisfaction and recognition should come from your job or pursuing a career. There are lots of other avenues for personal development that can be equally rewarding.  If you like working with numbers you can  volunteer as Treasurer for your church, a local club or your kid’s school.  If you have a good, but not amazing voice , you can join a choir or attend Karaoke events.

Don’t forget the hard yards

So if your current job is blue-collar or staff level the chances of you becoming CFO any time soon are pretty slim,  unless you take steps to make that happen.  You will have to graduate from high school , go to university and take  professional qualifications. Like Susan Boyle or any other amazing success story their achievements  may seem instantaneous,  but there are  usually many years  of hard yards behind the scenes.

If you have dreams of being an Olympic athlete but need to lose 20 pounds and smoke a pack a  day,  then that too will remain a fantasy.  Kriss Akabusi , author of  “Success comes in Cans” and  himself a recod breaking athlete makes the following comment  ” Yes , the overnight success syndrome is a real misnomer.  It took me 15 yrs to become European Champion. Of course it is appealing to just show up, be accepted for a gushing testimonial and people’s good feel factor, but in reality lasting success comes with determination, discipline, dedication to a course over time where one hews success out of failure and the core talent is sculptured from inside out”.

I can’t add to that !

Cave in… or leave the cave?

I’ve  had  lots of comments on my series of posts on women :  salary negotiation and the gender divide ( Let’s go girls… Negotiate!   and   Don’t be Afraid of “No” ). Thank you!   One topic still to be covered  is the issue of  us ladies stepping up to the negotiating table in our current organisations, as much as six times less than our male counterparts. This can mean a loss to net life income of up to half a million dollars.  So, let’s look at what can be done about that.  Just to be clear, this is only about women taking control of their own situations and dealing with passivity,  rather than covering flagrant cases of outright discrimination ( bullying?) where there are separate procedures both internal and legal to take care of those sort of issues.

Easier than you think!

It’s complex , but  not harder, or impossible, or any of   other those self sabotaging words  to initiate salary negotiate at this point.  The process just needs a minimally different type of preparation and understanding.  And can be learned which is very important.   So it’s all good. Women are long on empathy and process orientated.

So where to start?

You're going to hate this, but I'm afraid it's back to basics and preparation

This has been going  on for a while, right?  Feeling discontented and “put on” ,  so another few months won’t make any difference, seeing these guys making more money than you? But  you’re in a marathon,  not a sprint,  so  intensive training is required to undo lots of bad habits and perceptions  ( theirs and yours)  to position yourself for the finishing line.

Laying the foundations: Now is the time to be strategic, active  not re-active.

Reality check : The suggestions that I am going to make are based on the premise that you are at least a competent performer! If you have any chinks in your armour – absenteeism, missed deadlines, any performance warnings – deal with those first.

Also make sure that your understanding of your situation is based on fact. Perception can be  misleading.  You may have been in the job longer,  but if Joe and Pete in the next offices earn more than you,  if  they have an MBA and a PhD in Rocket Science, speak 3 languages  or are more measurably productive in some other way, then your  case isn’t necessarily clear-cut.  Sitting at your desk whingeing about your workload, miserable conditions and generally playing the victim will not help.  Squeaky wheels sometimes get changed instead of oiled.

So back to basics:

Positioning : try and volunteer for projects with strong visibility. Some shameless self promotion never goes amiss when preparing for salary negotiation.  What you are doing is paving the way to create opportunity. Start taking greater initiative, even if your efforts are turned down at least you  are practising  being assertive. If you keep getting negative responses,  establish  if there is a pattern. What can you change?

Ask for feedback:  get into the habit of  doing this and also asking if there’s anything you could be doing differently to meet expectations.  Do not use the word better.   Respond with an email of thanks to positive comments.  It’s good to have a  trail, even a soft one,  so that everyone starts believing your message about how good you are and the high standard of your work.   Including you!

Personal Development : if there is an area of personal development you can undertake which will increase your added value – do it,  even if currently it might be at your own expense.  Discuss this with your boss – and make sure that he/she is aware of what you are doing and connect this effort  to future added value for the company.

Know yourself.  Decide on your life and professional goals.  Where are your strengths and skills and where do you ultimately want to go with them?

Know your metrics ( e.g  turnover, transactions per day, customer satisfaction ratings.. etc) You are the product  – so manage your business.!  What have you achieved and contributed or could possibly contribute further in the future?

Know your market. Where do you sit on the salary spectrum both within the organisation and outside it? Facts.

Craft your elevator sound bites: your USPs  and success stories.

Anticipate objections :  “no budget, it’s a recession, you’re a poor performer ( yes, they might play dirty) ,we’re going bankrupt, boss is busy etc”.  If there is any implied criticism you should have your feedback email trail to back you up. In any situation that is potentially intimidating,  ask for precise examples and dates of the issues.  That normally  de-fuses situations.

Rehearse your  constructive communication strategy:   Socratic questions ( What makes you say/think that? How do you reach that decision?  etc)  and Attentive Listening  (” Help me understand”,  I feel that…”)

Set your ideal outcome and the fallback position you can live with ( benefits in kind, shorter hours, review in 6 months, childcare , working from home, flexi-time etc) benefits in kind have a high monetised value when grossed up.

Prepare for “No:”  Remember you love “no.. , ” make it work and use all the strategies you’ve prepared. But have a clear plan if the  answer is final.

Know your audience :   You  have  worked in this organisation for some time and have a relationship with the players. You know the corporate culture and  have observed him/her in other or similar situations.  What are their own goals and aspirations  and what is the business plan for the department?  You are prepared,  but be cautious. You might have coached yourself into neutral mode  for this  transaction, but there is no guarantee that the person sitting across the table from you will be in biz mode too. They might see this request as some sort of personal slight on their managerial skills and become ego defensive. That is not your problem.  Maintain  your cool no matter what,  but  be aware that this is the point when  any negotiation could become adversarial.  They  may not even have realised that there is a new, evolved, assertive you in front of them.

Living in the village

Now it is important to be clear in your own mind what you are prepared to settle for and what happens if your request is firmly rejected in any form. You still have to  “live in the village  ” to quote my friend Wally Bock .  So if you decide to let it go,  it’s important not to close doors and to remain measured and business like. The alternative is  of course outside the cave.

One size fits all

A number of you emailed or messaged me ,  truthfully a little angrily and frustrated. Your stories were of being single parents , living in areas of  high unemployment ,  with domestic circumstances that limited your flexibility and mobility.Plus your company is the main employer  in the region and could call the salary shots, so voting with your feet was not an option.   “What  have you got to say about that? You’re targeting high fliers! ” you  commented  somewhat belligerently!   But coaching is not elitist.

Without knowing all the individual circumstances and if these concerns are real,  or FEARs  ( false expectations appearing real)  the answer is that there is no one answer.  But no I’m not – these strategies are a one size fits all. They can be tweaked and adapted to fit most situations.    My suggestion is that you focus on you. Add to your skill set and if this can’t be done in a professional context in your existing company,  set yourself some goals for personal development.  Think long-term. No situation is ever static, so at least you will be prepared for any changes that may arise. Kids graduate, companies get taken over, recessions end and opportunities come around when you least expect them.  Can you work from home or take on-line classes for example?

There are always a multitude of possibilities. You just have to be open to seeing them.  In the words of someone even  older and definitely wiser than myself  ( Seneca)  ” Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity”