He once opened for the Eagles, Fleetwood Mac and Linda Ronstadt and ran into Mick Jagger while they were recording in different parts of the same studio in England.
Today he runs virtual workshops for universities and millennial-staffed companies called, “How to succeed at jobs that don’t exist yet.” Christopher Bishop has an engaging and entertaining approach toward influencing and leveraging knowledge and experience I look forward to sharing with you today.
Many clients I am serving during these ongoing days of remote working say they don’t want to put their progression paths on hold. They want to position themselves now for internal advancement or external opportunities which may present later. Great. Because now is the time. As I’ve written in this space before, companies continue to promote and hire, even during the pandemic.
Chris, as he invited me to informally call him, is well-suited to offer advice in this area due to his own unique career development journey. “I’m a non-linear, multi-modal careerist,” he pronounced as I spoke to him from his home in Connecticut via Zoom.
“I’ve had eight separate careers so far, starting from a small degree in German literature with a minor in music. I now provide insight how to leverage emerging technologies – including quantum information science, AI, data science, fintech, crypto-assets, blockchain, augmented or virtual reality and robotics.”
But how did he get here from there? And what can we learn from his journey?
VOICE – Understand and define your brand
Upon graduation in the 1970s, Chris auditioned and landed a gig as a bass player with the rock band, McKendree Spring. He recorded and toured for several years – first with the band and later as a studio musician for a variety of performers. That explains his star-studded encounters. It also may explain why his first suggestion for anyone looking to move in a career is to, ”know your voice.”
“This will change and evolve over your work life, but you must look inward and define your ‘uniqueness.’ What qualities make you stand out?” he asks. “Pick a favourite movie or book and write down aspects that you relate to.”
Chris’ movie is Blade Runner with its themes of future culture and technology. His book is Rise and Fall of Nations highlighting his interest in global business.
ANTENNA – Monitor and find information
Futurists predicts new graduates will have between eight to ten jobs by the time they reach 38. To direct your path Chris says, “Raise your antenna and map what you do to what is happening in the world. Be diligent about monitoring information sources and finding new ones.”
Chris’ music career intersected with technology when he began work as an arranger and producer. “When music became data, I bought a computer and learned how to sample and sequence. You take existing skills and acquire new skills to future-proof yourself.
“I’m always chasing the next thing and seeing several things now. Crises engender innovation. The emerging jobs of the future are appearing at the intersection of historically disconnected disciplines. As long as there are problems, there will be jobs.”
MESH – Connect with everyone and anyone
Chris recalls his traveling musician days when he finally tired of “the Holiday Inn life on the road” and decided to look for steady work in New York.
“I had a plastic bag full of index cards with people’s names and numbers,” he remembers. “It was way before LinkedIn. “Musicians, ad agents, art directors and creative types. I called every person I could.”
I can’t stress this myself enough, and as always, it’s great to have someone else echo and reinforce this idea. Networking is not work, it’s essential. His networking tip: “Add five people a week to your profile.”
That’s how I met Chris, by the way. I simply reached out to him via LinkedIn, not from a card in a plastic bag!
TIP OF THE COMMUNICATOR CAP
Speaking of reinventing yourself and career progression, a loyal reader of the column recently introduced me to Eileen Forrestal. Formerly an anaesthetist in Sligo, she traded in her medicine career in 2014 to become a publisher of motivational diaries and journals. Her Get Up and Go range of products are available in stores and online and are packed fresh each year with new inspirational quotes, stories and illustrations. I spoke with her by phone this past week as she was facilitating her virtual booth at the online Mental Health and Wellness Summit.
She shared with me she’s currently in conversations with American Chicken Soup for the Soul author Jack Canfield about a partnership and if there was any time which called for positive forces to connect and align, this is certainly it. Good luck, Eileen.
STILL CRAZY OR MENTAL TOUGHNESS?
And finally, although in last week’s column I derided my sea-swimming buddies Lisa and Jane as ‘crazy’ for continuing to jump in the icy water here in October, I now formally re-label the practice as “mental strength training.” That’s because they convinced me to take the plunge again past week. Twice. Yes, we all need to build our mental fortitude for the winter, but I swear now I’m done.
Write to Gina in care of SundayBusiness@independent.ie
With corporate clients in five continents, Gina London is a premier communications strategy, structure and delivery expert. She is also a media analyst, author, speaker and former CNN anchor. @TheGinaLondon