Career Advancement: Are you a Finch or a Do-Do Bird?

nacie carson.jpgBirds and career success? In her new book, career expert Nacie Carson uses Darwin’s finches as a model for the successful professional who, unlike her less adaptive colleagues, manages to survive and thrive–even in this challenging economy. The Finch Effect: The Five Strategies to Adapt and Thrive in Your Working Life will help you avoid going the way of the do-do bird.

Carson (director of development services at Cleaver Company) urges us to evolve our career strategies, or risk extinction. She distills the best practices of the “Fittest” of the workplace into five steps:

  1. adopt a gig mindset
  2. identify your value
  3. cultivate your skills
  4. nurture your social network
  5. harness your entrepreneurial energy

A few words with Carson about career advancement:

What do birds have to do with career success?

Everything! At least in a metaphorical sense. Darwin’s finches provide a great example for surviving and thriving in spite of environmental change. It amazes me how humans–the most mentally advanced species on the planet–get in the way of our own success by succumbing to fear, doubt, and a lack of empowerment when our environment changes or a wildcard event (like the recession) happens.

What can we do to survive and thrive?

In The Finch Effect, I show how you can build your mental resilience by adopting what I call a “gig mindset,” developing your professional skills, and crafting your adaptive professional brand so you can thrive in this and any economy.

Are you and mid-career professionals the only ones who have to worry about adaptability, or do more seasoned workers need to learn this skill as well?

Everyone, from emerging professionals to mid-level managers, needs to be adaptable in their carer. It doesn’t matter if you have 0 years left in your working life or four. Changes in the job market (good and bad) can happen at any time, and thanks to our global connectedness, can happen fast. Everyone should be ready and capable to handle that change and take advantage of whatever opportunities emerge.

If people only take one thing away from this book, what do you hope it is?

That we all have the capacity to grow, change, and evolve. Unlike other species on this earth–our dear finches included–humans have the unique capability to consciously participate in or own evolution. We are not passive, but are active and sentient beings who can survive and thrive in almost any condition. Our economic and vocational conditions are no different. I hope people take away a message of hope, motivation, and capability, and a few good business tips as well!

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