• Simon Phillips

What the Hokey Cokey can teach us about career development during change

It’s summer, it’s party time and parties mean the Hokey Cokey (well they used to).

So you want to develop your career, but your organisation is going through major change? Don’t automatically assume this means your career is at a standstill until everything settles down. Because

1) most organisations can’t afford to ‘settle down’, they need to keep evolving and

2) it often takes longer than planned for change and restructure to be completed. So you could be putting things off for longer than you intended.

Equally important - avoid making ill-informed assumptions and rushing off to another employer prematurely. If your job role is at risk and the future looks uncertain, you may be tempted to go elsewhere just to get some certainty. Of course, jumping ship quickly works fine if you’re clear about what you want from the next chapter of your life and career. If not, you could be leaping out of the frying pan into the fire.

So work out what ‘career development’ means for you. Are you bored, in need of a bit of ’stretch’? Exhausted, disillusioned, needing a change of scene (people, environment, mission)..? Do you want more money, more freedom, more responsibility, less responsibility? Or maybe you have a master plan and you want to develop your skills, knowledge, experience, or track record.

When you DO know what you want to be different and why, you’re ready to play the Hokey Cokey...

You put your right leg in,

Your right leg out,

In, out, in, out

Shake it all about…

IN: consider a change of role INside your current organisation. For example taking an ‘out of specialisation’ role, becoming a programme lead, taking on a secondment, switching from client facing to corporate, or vice versa. This is good for getting exposure to / interacting with different groups of professionals or clients, seeing a different part of the business or a different management level.

Good for continuity of income and track record. A strategy worth considering if you want to test out a change of role or professional direction, without the risk of starting again as a ‘newbie’.

OUT: Same role or profession OUTside your current organisation / sector i.e.. freelance, interim, consultancy work in your same specialisation, same role in a bigger or smaller organisation, or in a start-up.

Good for broadening your understanding of the marketplace, seeing things from your customers’ or suppliers’ perspective, developing your specialist skills in a different setting.


Throw it all up in the air and start afresh. Change of direction or a change of pace. A different role, profession, organisation, or industry sector - or all of the above. A career break, retraining, creating a portfolio career, shifting from employed to self-employed. Start your own business, franchise, social enterprise. Start something new.

Good for realigning your work with your passions and your interests, with your values, with what inspires you and with your vision for the kind of life you wish to lead.

Some people say the best place to be in the Hokey Cokey is at the front, where you can see where you’re going. Rather than being swept along behind, not entirely sure where you’re going and all the time struggling to keep up.

So get in the driving seat, where you can decide where you’re going, and enjoy the ride - whether you’re in, out or shaking it all about!

And if you need some help working out where you’re going, contact Cathy at cathy@thechangemakergroup.com

#coaching #joywork #careerdevelopment


We are looking forward to hearing from you!

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+44 (0)333 050 9467

227a West St, Fareham

PO16 0HZ, UK

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