How to Create Career Contingency Plan

How to Create Career Contingency Plan

There is a growing need for individuals and workers to constantly build and update themselves, due to the growing economic uncertainty globally. The pitfalls and setbacks caused by the ongoing global COVID 19 pandemic come to mind. As the pandemic continues to wreak havoc on economies worldwide, some individuals are either laid off work or are unable to find employment that suits their career or field. Also, an organization might be struggling financially and unable to offset worker’s wages; hence, decide to let some employees go. What happens when you find yourself in such a situation? One way to navigate through the situation is by falling back to your career contingency plan.

Having a backup plan for your career helps you cope and adjust to unforeseen setbacks in your endeavor. Arguably, it can be equated to a boxer having a Plan B or even Plan C. While individuals with career contingency plans fall back to it when things go bad, those without such plans struggle to cope. Moreover, creating and having such a plan enables you to have something to fall back on during planned changes (when you are looking for a new job) or unplanned changes (getting let go from work for whatever reason). A career contingency plan doesn’t mean that you will have another job lined up at a moment’s notice; it just means that you are prepared in the event you do need to find a new job quickly.

In addition, a career contingency plan put in place, strategic steps and responses to counter disruptive scenarios in an individual’s career. Although it is impossible to prepare for all possible disruptions, having plans and possible solutions for unforeseen complications, will help an individual deal with challenges in his/her career as they come. Therefore, this article will focus on the scope of career contingency plans, and more importantly, highlight essential tips needed for creating career contingency plans.


Meaning of Career Contingency Plan

A career contingency plan can be defined as a backup plan for your career, in case your positive assumptions about the security and stability of your current career don’t hold. Relatively, career contingency plans are plans workers and individuals make to combat unplanned, unexpected, and sudden events that can possibly put their careers on hold, such as retrenching, furlough, redundancies, or organizational downsizing. Also, career contingency plans outline and enumerate the steps an individual will take in case a certain/specific situation does or does not happen. The contingency plan helps reduce, minimize or contain damages arising from loss of work or change in career path. Thus, you remain productive and carry out your operations without interruption when you have a career contingency plan.


Tips on How to Create a Career Contingency Plan

A legitimate strategy requires adaptability to achieve success. Putting a Plan B in place is an essential step to achieving adaptability. Every employee or individual has a plan A; however, your career progression and growth depends on you having a Plan B or even a Plan C. The pros of having backup plans are enormous; it gives you something to fall back to when Plan A doesn’t work out. Below are tips on how to create a career contingency plan;

  1. Identify the potential risk
  2. Prioritize the identified risk
  3. Think about the skills you want to have or improve
  4. Write down your plan
  5. Execute written plans.
  6. Review plans and stay up to date.

Identify the potential risk: A career contingency plan is meant to deal with the unanticipated and counter sudden complications that might jeopardize your career. Therefore, you should think outside the box when identifying potential risks associated with your career. Think deep and come up with all possible risks involved, as well as how you intend to handle them. In summary, the following questions should suffice when identifying potential risks associated with your career;

  • What could possibly happen to your career?
  • What will you do in response?
  • What can you do in advance to prepare?

Answering the questions above critically and objectively, will help you come up with alternatives to go with your career, and subsequently aid you in mapping out a career contingency plan.

Prioritize the identified risks: There is a popular concept in Economics called the “scale of preference”. The concept has to do with having a list of needs where the most important is on top and the least pressing is at the bottom. The same concept can be applied and adopted when trying to come up with a career contingency plan. Depending on the nature of your career; there is a high probability that you might be overwhelmed with a bucket full of risks. In such a situation, have a scale of preference; make combating the most pressing and inherent risk associated with your career a priority; that will help you create a good career contingency plan.

Think about the skills you want to have or improve: With every step of your career, there should be growth. So when you are creating a career contingency plan, make sure you include the skills you desire as the backbone of your career path. Your next jobs should either give you these skills or provide you with an environment to apply these skills to a new domain. Think about your ideal job 5, 10, and even 15 years down the line; identify any skill gaps you may have, and start working on them now.

Write down your plan: This is arguably the crucial stage when creating a career contingency plan. After identifying risks, thinking about which risk to tackle first, and incorporating needed skills, you need to actually start writing your plans down. Once you’ve decided on what you want as a backup to your career, get to work on it. However, you need to be realistic and careful at this stage; try and write a proposal that will guide you as you go further. Make sure that the plan is as detailed and easy to understand as possible. It will come in handy during execution.

Execute written plans: If your career contingency plan includes you taking actions to prepare for future incidences, you should execute them as soon as possible. If the plan involves other parties such as your coworkers or family, inform them in advance so that when unprecedented changes occur, they are fully aware of their role in your plan.

Review plans and stay up to date: A career contingency plan is meant to be flexible as its nature is to deal with the unprecedented; for instance, the situation could change drastically or the risks could be much greater. In order to maintain the practicality of your contingency plan, you should revisit it every few months and make adjustments whenever needed.

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