Moses talks women and careers and the importance of a work-life balance

There is more to Toronto‘s Barbara Moses than simply being Canada’s career guru.

A “career counsellor to career counsellors,” it could be argued Moses currently enjoys a portfolio career.

“I am a great believer in portfolio careers and lives, which is instead of getting all your satisfaction from one type of activity…you think of all things you need to feel good about yourself (and do it all in different ways),” Moses says.

Get career guidance in this DK Book by Canada's career guru Barbara Moses book
What Next?

In her book What Next? Find The Work That’s Right For You (DK Books), Moses says “a portfolio career is one of the most organic kind of careers you can have today.”

Moses is an author of four books, a sought-after speaker, a career online tool developer and a board member with Up With Women and Nightwood Theatre. She also is a dancer and gardener.

So how did Moses get the title of Canada’s career guru?

“When my first book, Career Intelligence, came out (in 1997, the article) described me as Canada’s career guru, and I guess it sort of stuck.”

Career Intelligence “talked about ideas related to the workplace that no one had talked about in terms of the fact everyone going to be living in temp world, which doesn’t meant they are going to have temporary job, but it means they have no one else to rely on. It talked about the fluidity of workplace, that the only protection you can count on is yourself and your skills. And it took a harsh look at employers in terms of saying no one is going to look after you…It also talked about strains of parents, which people hadn’t really talked about at that point, and their anxiety of giving their kids a leg up…The other thing that was relatively new was the concept of you can’t prepare for (future) jobs” as they might not be there in five years.

Which brings us to the third edition of What’s Next?, which came out in January.

For the update, Moses went through each chapter and asked if the information, quizzes and guided exercises were still accurate, and reflected what’s going on in today’s marketplace.

And what is today’s marketplace?

Canadian organizations will likely continue to rely on contract workers, Moses writes in What’s Next? “But equally important, even if you land permanent, full-time work you will need to have the mindset of a temporary worker…”

It’s tough out there, particularly for women looking for a good work-life balance.

Moses says it’s important for women to understand what is important to them in life.

Because in the end, when they look back on their life in 20 years, what decisions “will they be most proud of? I mean, no one is going to remember or feel good about that meeting 10 years ago.”

And women need to learn to say no.

Moses says women often worry that if they say no at work, they will be penalized and not be seen as a team player, which often is not the case. Instead, woman have to have to  the “capacity to step back and think about what are consequences if I say no?”

“It’s a constant balancing act.”

The goal for What Next?, as well as each of Moses’ books, which includes, Women Confidential, Midlife Women Explode the Myths of Having it All, Career Intelligence, The Good News About Careers, Dish Midlife Women Tell the Truth about Work, Relationships, and the Rest of Life , is for people to understand their experiences and feel good about themselves and their achievements.

“There is so much stuff in there,” Moses says about What Next? “Know yourself, take charge of your career, be a career active, don’t be owned by your work, make decisions independent what others want you to be or think you should be, don’t evaluate yourself against what others (feel as) success, be able to articulate clearly who you are what you are good what you care about.”

Moses says the book is for those just starting out and to the “50 per cent of people who truly are unhappy and don’t know what they want to do in their life.”

“I hope that you will think of this book as, in effect, your own personal career counsellor and coach,” Moses writes in What’s Next?

Editor’s Note: I interviewed Barbara Moses in February and wrote two articles, this one and one focussing on the book and executive directors. You can read that article here.

You can read my review here . 

Lisa’s update: November 2017. What’s Next? was added to a list of books for those looking for a new career –