Podcast #232 – John Tarnoff Discusses His Post Adopt a Career Growth Mindset and Never Think of Yourself as “Unemployed”
This week I am speaking with my good friend John Tarnoff. I have had John on the podcast in episodes 208, 152, and 120. John has been the most frequent guest on the podcast in the 4 and 1/2 years I have been producing this podcast.
I consider John Tarnoff to be a peer, colleague, and friend. John specializes in helping those in the 2nd half of life reinvent themselves. In 2017, he published his book, Boomer Reinvention: How to Create Your Dream Career. Here is a snippet from his website:
After my startup went bust, I decided to go back to school to earn a Master’s degree in Spiritual Psychology – a branch of behavioral psychology that focuses on self-responsibility and self-forgiveness as pathways to healing and change. I didn’t think that I wanted to become a psychologist but I hoped to learn more about myself, what my strengths and weaknesses were, and what lessons I needed to learn to move forward.
Now, fifteen years later, as a career coach, author, and speaker, my mission is to support professionals over fifty to redefine, build and sustain second-act careers beyond traditional retirement. I’ve created a more personal-growth approach to career development, vs the traditional HR skills-based paradigm – starting with the notion that your ideal second-act career is already inside you.
John recently wrote a blog post that really impressed me called, Adopt a Career Growth Mindset and Never Think of Yourself as “Unemployed”.
In this episode, we will be discussing the content of that post.
This episode is sponsored by Career Pivot. Check out the Career Pivot Community. Make sure and pick up my latest book, Repurpose Your Career: A Practical Guide for the 2nd Half of Life Third Edition.
Now on to the podcast…
What Is A Career Growth Mindset?
There are two different mindsets: the fixed mindset which tries to live in a steady-state world, and the growth mindset which is constantly in the state of change and openness to change.
The point about writing the article, post covid, is that we need to be even more responsive to change, anticipate change, and expect that change is the new normal. We need to expect that we are not going back to some state of normal in our jobs and careers.
Everything has been shaken up so we need to rethink our careers.
How Do We Teach Our Children?
People need to start teaching their children about this mindset change as well. Many are teaching the kids about the same type of work we did in the old days. Get a good education, work for 40 years and keep your nose clean, then you can retire and your kids go off to school and everything is fine.
However, well before the 2008-2009 recession, it started to change and during the recession it became clear.
Most of us can’t afford to retire. Even if we’ve put enough away for a nice nest egg that’s likely not going to be sufficient.
Looking at the economy post-pandemic with inflation, the value of our dollar that is currently in the bank is going down. We need to talk to our kids about this growth mindset. Education is life-long, you have to earn your keep every single day. You can’t expect to be in a job any length of time because there are too many changes.
The business is constantly changing. You need to constantly keep growing as well. You will provide greater value to the customer or client you work for. That’s the growth mindset that you want to buy into, and by the way, retirement is over.
How Do You Develop A Career Mindset?
You must reorient yourself toward a new mindset. One thing that prevents us from engaging in a growth mindset is the inertia we’ve accumulated all these years.
Sit down and start making a list of some of the things that you tend to rely on as predictable and stable in your job. Stare at that list and question whether or not those stabilities are still stable.
Take a look at the role you do and question whether or not those roles are still relevant, continue to be, and are you applying the best you have to offer to those roles? Is there something else you could be doing in the work you’re currently doing? Is there something you may be better suited for?
If we’ve been doing a job for many years, we may wonder if that’s all there is? As we get older we wonder about the legacy that we’re leaving.
Use creative imagination to think about what you could be doing? Make it a stretch from what you’re doing currently but not out of the realm of possibility.
Just keep at it. Don’t get sidetracked or discouraged. The education system keeps forcing on us “one and done”. Hand in your paper and you’re done.
On a project, you get more chances than one and done. Experiment with a new way of working, a new income flow, new relationships, etc. to see if that’s what you want to do.
Volunteer and perform work internships in the new area that you are looking at. That’s also a great way to make a growth mindset.
What Are Some Of The Career Mindset Myths?
Three myths around your career and the process of transitioning and getting into a new job:
You want to reevaluate yourself from being a supplicant to being a partner. Where that comes into play is in the interview. Because you are an older individual, they’re expecting you to come in with a certain matter of confidence, mindfulness, maturity, and a sense of ease and self-acceptance. That’s what going to set them at ease and make them feel more open to you.
When you’re a supplicant you’re trying to fit into some specific job description.
I can do that.
But what you want to do is think of yourself as their partner. You’ve done your research and want to know how you can use that value of your help to solve their problems.
Be prepared to interview them as much as they are interviewing them and find the common ground and fit. They want you to be more proactive.
Go for the project and don’t go for the job. In the workplace, we are more and more focusing on projects instead of jobs. Think about positioning ourselves to work in the beginning, middle, and end situations.
Having a project-based mindset gives you more authority around what you’re doing. Think of the assignments that you’re getting right now. How can you reframe the assignments as beginning, middle, and end projects? This will help make what you do more productive. It will help change your mindset.
You are never out of work. On LinkedIn profiles never say you’re open to a new position, or are unemployed and looking for a new job.
Never categorize yourself as unemployed. People might wonder why are you unemployed. Maybe you’re trouble? A different mindset is never being out of work. You are a professional regardless of whether you’re being paid or not.
So if you’re not currently working for someone you want to list yourself as a “consultant.” You’re staying up to date in your industry. You should be still connecting with people. Never think of yourself as unemployed. You may be in between gigs but not unemployed.
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