One of the leading and successful authors once decided to write books about magic and mystery. Her manuscripts were rejected by more than 12 publishers, but she bounced back from it and continued to do so in her future. Today, she is known as J.K. Rowling for the famous series “Harry Potter”! Even Walt Disney was fired from his job in the 1920s because “he lacked ideas and imagination” as was told by his boss. There are many such people like Colonel Sanders, Oprah Winfrey who were either rejected or fired from their work. But each one of them successfully proved themselves and are now owners of million-dollar industries.

Looking at the above examples, we see that adapting to your environment, especially when it comes to career and work, makes an individual strong, faces barriers/inhibitions, and has a better work-life balance.

Teenage to mid-20s is a developmental phase in an individual’s life. This doesn’t mean that only young individuals need to be adaptable and resilient in their careers. Even people with several years of experience might need it. If one wants to succeed and flourish in their career, a will to be flexible and to learn is needed. Career, as well as self-development, becomes possible when a person is open to change and adapt to their work and surroundings. A good work-life balance can be achieved when a person faces difficulties and overcomes barriers in his way.

Let us look at some maladaptive behaviours

Maladaptive behaviours inhibit people from adapting to new and difficult as well as challenging situations. Maladaptive behaviour means the individuals do not have the capacity to adjust to situations.

Maladaptive behaviours include:

  • Incomplete work assignments
  • Showing procrastinating behaviour
  • Rude behaviour with friends
  • Cannot accept own mistakes
  • Ridicules rules and does not follow them
  • Reduced efforts towards career and studies

Consequences of maladaptive behaviour are isolation from people. People who display maladaptive behaviours are not able to retain relationships. These people cannot participate in group tasks/projects.

Career adaptability predicts employee well being. Being adaptable and flexible in career can prove to be beneficial. An example of being adaptable in career is studying while doing a part time job or multitasking efficiently. Career resilience and career adaptability go hand in hand and both mean the ability of an individual to find a job, maintain it and lead a successful and satisfied life. Being adaptable at work means being open for risks, challenges and unforeseen situations. Adaptable individuals are resourceful, they see an opportunity instead of failure, they do not blame others for their mistakes.

Career resilience is the ability to adjust to career changes, whatever the circumstances may be, and to walk along all the ups and downs and twists and turns on your career path. Being resilient as well as adaptable in career can get you many different opportunities and also a chance to explore your passion and proficiencies.

“Resilience in career” is no longer something that is good to have but is a core professional competency. Career adaptability refers to the ability of individuals to cope with current and future tasks within their career. Career adaptability has been the same throughout cultures and does not differ country wise. It has also not differed generation wise. Every generation needs to be adaptable and resilient in their life.

Being a student means thinking about your career choices and how to achieve the career goals. Career adaptability and resilience includes satisfaction and enjoyment in career and other outcomes like good work life balance and also lower stress levels at work. People don’t tend to attach their adaptable ability to their success. Being adaptable is key to continuing to develop your employability and remain employable in the future.

Career adaptability in itself is a way towards a constructive career.

  • To become adaptable in career, individuals need to be clear and focused on what they need to achieve in their career.
  • People who are ready to be adaptable in their career, look to people as forward thinkers, adjustable and good problem solvers.
  • More career options become available to those who readily show adaptability in career. These individuals are more open and accepting towards things.

Career adaptability might not guarantee a job but it can 

  • Increase the ability to focus on what you need in your career
  • Impart the knowledge to be and remain confident at workplace
  • Help in making a successful transition in your job
  • Help in being innovative and supportive in assignments you get

When you feel a setback from work, career etc. remember the moments in which you overcame all the barriers and went through with it. Everyone is more resilient than they realize.

Aditi Vange

Psychologist

NEA Life, Pune