By Mary Ann Faremouth, CPC
The other day I came across a picture of Mom and Dad dancing. They both had big smiles on their faces, and it reminded me of how much they enjoyed attending weddings, anniversary parties and other special-occasion events where they were able to move to the music. It also took me back to a reference a good friend made to me, a recruiter, as a “choreographer of vocations.” I think we are all ready to do a new dance, so to speak, with different steps in the New Work World. These days we all have to choreograph a different dance to step into success in our professions and even beyond.
Isn’t life a lot like a dance? It’s not always a straight line dance. Lately it’s more like a cha-cha where we have to take a step back after taking a step forward. I think we all are ready to take more steps forward than back these days, but often in life we need to review the past to be able to renew and move forward.
Dance has always been a unique, essential human activity that connects us to the musical rhythms of life. It is an ancient art practiced by almost every culture in every place since the beginning of humankind. Dance has been used to mark important rituals and passages in a person’s life, bringing individuals and communities together for what’s usually a celebratory purpose. It is as much for the mind and spirit as for the body; we need it to gain a fuller sense of well-being and connection to others. And there are so many types of dance: minuets, waltzes, the foxtrot, swing, tap, tango, cha-cha, the twist. Your grandparents probably danced differently than you do, and your grandchildren will probably perform dances that don’t even exist yet. But all these different types of dance make an interesting metaphor for the ways in which we cope with change in our daily lives.
Regardless of the field you work in, when your career undergoes change, it can sometimes be helpful to step back and reassess the dance steps you have been performing. Will you continue to dance through your work life in the same way or change the steps? Will you do more of a line dance, getting in step with others through networking and joining groups like Toastmasters, Rotary or forums on LinkedIn and other social media? Or will you break-dance and improvise your job quest by reaching out to different and unique industries to see how your transferrable skills might apply? Maybe you will break with past steps and try waltzing into a new dance right where you already are.
It can also be helpful to examine whether the way you dance through change helps you grow and develop. Are your moves teaching you solid life lessons? Is the style you’ve been dancing a good fit for who you are now?
Lately, I’ve been reevaluating which dance steps can prove most helpful in the New Work World. Now more than ever in my 30-plus-year career as an executive recruiter, I spend my time with people who live amid change. Whether they are employers struggling to find that next good hire or employees trying to decide how to maximize their career, assessing the right steps to take is part of the process.
As a “choreographer of vocations,” I have helped people try dance steps that might emulate a a salsa: quick-paced and confident. However, these days, in order to deepen and enjoy our lives to the fullest, we might have to slow our steps down to more of a waltz. The steps we take in our job search may have to change significantly.
What types of life changes are you dancing through right now, and what changes are headed your way? If you are an employer, are you taking the right steps to get you that very best next hire by considering hybrid working conditions or considering a person with transferrable skills, rather than exact experience, because of the unprecedented talent shortage? As a prospective employee, are you considering broadening your dance repertoire, if you will, by building up your digital skillset or improving techniques for the interview, which is itself a delicate dance?
Just as the choreographer creates original routines for different performances, you may need to alter your dance steps to fit new situations. To bring yourself into better alignment in your current career dance in the New Work World, don’t be afraid to change your steps. And if necessary, seek the assistance of your own “choreographer of vocations.”
It may take you a beat or two to get the hang of it. No matter what, be like Mom and Dad and keep dancing!
Mary Ann Faremouth
Mary Ann holds a CPC (Certified Personnel Consultant) credential, was certified by the Board of Regents of the National Association of Personnel Consultants in Washington, D.C., and was awarded an Advanced Communicator Bronze, Advanced Leader Bronze Awards by Toastmasters. She cofounded Jobs: Houston magazine in 1997. Mary Ann maintains affiliations with professional organizations, including oil and gas, financial, construction, IT, and structural, mechanical, and civil engineering. (www.faremouth.com)
Mary Ann’s award-winning first book Revolutionary Recruiting has been listed by Book Authority as Number #1 Best 100 Recruiting Books; #1 Best Seller, Non-Fiction, Amazon (2019); Top 20 Recruiting books, Recruitics; Readers’ Choice finalist (2019), Houston Literary Awards; Best Non-Fiction (2018), Best Cover (2019), and Best Self-Help (2018), Authors Marketing Guild. Her books support individuals and corporations, tap into each candidate’s unrealized potential to find the right person for each job, maximizing both employee satisfaction and the employer’s bottom line. Mary Ann showcases her expertise of the recruiting world on a monthly podcast for The Price of Business and weekly articles for USA Business. Her new workbook, Revolutionary Reinvention, was recently released on Amazon. Mary Ann lives in Houston, Texas.