Sometimes it is hard to trust — instrumentation, technology, even Google maps and route navigation. The human mind is a powerful computer that can be adversely affected by our senses, even when those strong impulses in the brain are misguided.
For example, when you’re standing on the ground you know up from down but when piloting a small plane you rely on one thing to keep you upright and balanced — the horizon. When you can’t see that focal point, things can go horribly wrong. The same can be said with your career. When you lose that focal point your brains start telling you one thing but it may not be right.
More than a few inexperienced pilots, including young John Kennedy, have crashed their airplanes because they became disoriented in Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) conditions. Mr. Kennedy, his fiancé and her sister died in 1999 when their single engine plane crashed in the waters off Martha’s Vineyard. As he was descending for approach in the early evening, Mr. Kennedy encountered hazy conditions which obscured the horizon. He became disoriented. The term is spatial disorientation. The plane apparently crashed into the water in an inverted position — he was flying upside down and did not know it. Mr. Kennedy was not experienced to fly in IFR conditions. He could not, or did not, trust his instrumentation, tools that could have easily prevented the crash if they had been properly utilized.
Today we live in a world that is dominated by technology, especially in our every day lives. People who lack the knowledge, skills and trust, find that using a computer or smart phone to conduct business or pay bills, is a mysterious process. A frequent excuse for those who want to hold on to paper and the old way of managing their lives is that they do not trust (or understand) how the technology works. It is hard, often impossible, for them to grasp or trust the technology. Regrettably, these people are increasingly marginalized in certain aspects of their day-to-day lives.
Vehicular navigational devices such a Garmin, Tom-Tom or the built-in systems, have revolutionized travel by car. No longer do we need to be slaves to unwieldy roadmaps or the questionable instructions from the gas station attendant who always makes it seem so easy, even as he is inadvertently leaving out key steps in the route. Thanks to satellite technology — also known as GPS — and amazing computer programs, we can track our progress to a destination within five to 10 feet of turns to the final destination. Their performance is amazing and generally very accurate but you have to trust the system. If you don’t and you allow your brain to overwhelm the sophisticated satellites and computer programing, you might become lost, usually in the most undesirable part of town or when you are running late for an airline flight.
It is all about trust.
These same principles apply to career coaching and outplacement, particularly during times of market instability or upheaval. You must be willing to trust the advisor and the advice. But the informal research shows that is hard to do. There are strong forces within you that lead people to believe they know best, the excellent reputation and track record of the advisor/coach notwithstanding, and while instincts are important, unchecked instincts and ego have done as much damage to an individual’s brand as poor performance.
So, if you enter the job market today, know this: things have really changed. You must learn to trust the instrumentation, the technology and the people who are capable of helping you avoid a messy, career crash landing.
© 2020 John Gregory Self