“Far and away the best
prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.” President
Teddy Roosevelt on Labor Day, September 7, 1903
As we approach the end of 2012, the season of
Thanksgiving presents a good time for job seekers to seriously rethink work; to
plan for economic surprises; to envision short and long-term career adjustments. If you dream of a new job, or feel unhappy in
your work, or sense that you have outgrown your current position, take
advantage of the next two months at year’s end to increase your awareness of
what the new marketplace demands of you and the steps you must take to create
your right livelihood.
Creating the work you love requires
self-discipline and discernment – the ability to know what to do without being
told. No one else can tell you when to
stay or to leave, or precisely when and how to exercise your courage. But you can use your time wisely as a resource
and dig deeper into finding your authentic vocation.
Work is Global
It is a basic human need to want to have a
job. And it’s always been the case that
there are many new jobs coming into the marketplace with opportunities to
compete for them. President Teddy
Roosevelt’s observation is still true today, but what’s different is the
competition for jobs is now on a global scale.
The old foundation is gone and we are in an era of redefined loyalties,
expanded options, and a transformed job market.
There are billions of people in the world
trying hard to achieve the prize of a good job, one that carries with it the
feeling of contributing to something worthwhile. Significant numbers of job seekers have found
the job of their dreams with a good salary and a sense of doing work that
matters, but there are many more that have not.
What’s contributing to this uneven playing field?
There are two primary trends responsible – globalization and innovation in information technology. Both forces are moving the world closer to a single market for labor. Competing for good jobs with other qualified
workers used to take place in the city, state or region where you lived, but
now you may be competing against workers who live in different countries.
Contract Work is Here to Stay
Companies are buying services from a growing
contingent of part-time, contract and temporary workers – an inherently more
flexible work force. In the U.S. in
2010, the number of part-time workers reached a new high of almost 20% of all
employees. Getting a contract job (what may
be called a “bridge” job) while you search for your ideal work is a smart
strategy that can lead to unexpected full time work.
Education matters more now, not just in
developed nations, but worldwide.
Studies show a high correlation between a good education, higher
earnings and a reduced risk of becoming unemployed. In response, novel initiatives are emerging in
higher education such as the Stanford University program, Coursera, which
offers the best instructors teaching the most “in demand” courses for
free to students living around the globe. Using technology to advance their reach, the
University offered its first free technical course in early 2012 and more than
160,000 students signed up!
this has created a good deal of attention from other schools and many are
beginning to emulate Stanford’s pioneering innovation while others are
challenging the model. For an overview,
go to TED talks to see a video featuring Coursera co-developer Daphne Koller
Things You Can Do Right Now to Manage Your
Consider this: given the current state of the recovering
U.S. economy, it will take you just as long to find a poor job as it will to
find a good one. Why not look for a good
job, then, one that fits you and makes you feel alive and engaged?
Here are some things you will need to take
responsibility for in order to win in the global job market:
· Know yourself, your
skills, your interests, and your passions. Your individuality is the greatest
talent you can offer an employer and the greatest foundation upon which you can
build a career.
Be prepared to work far harder to get an employer’s attention in your job search than you
may have previously thought necessary.
You will need to market yourself better and consider a broader range of employers
than you might have previously thought of as part of a full job search. This includes “bridge” jobs that help pay the
bills until you find your ideal job.
Be judicious about what you put on the Internet and “clean up your act”.
Facebook and other sites are now regularly visited by human-resource
departments and if they find anything negative or embarrassing about you, they
are likely to simply pass you by in favor of other candidates.
Use social media to your advantage. In spite of the
Internet, a successful job search is still about networking and the people you
know, but social media has changed it from an art into a science. For example, LinkedIn, begun in 2002, has
become an integral part of the job market used by jobseekers and recruiters
equally. It has about 120 million
members; more than half are outside the U.S. and many are professionals earning
$100,000 a year or more. The website
enables professionals like you to locate mutual contacts who can introduce
would-be employees and employers to each other. These personal recommendations
may increase your chance of success more than applications or job offers made
to total strangers.
Adopt and practice the attitude that we are all self-employed. Even after you find
work for a company that pays your salary, you had best continue to act like
someone in charge of their own destiny by owning your individual, authentic
contributions on the job, along with the ability to collaborate within a team,
and the willingness to make extra efforts along the way to help the team “win.”
must continually reevaluate what you need
to succeed and survive because change is a constant. What
looks like chaos in the marketplace can actually be a good thing for your
growth and for your career reinvention – if you are open to learning and willing to
take responsibility for your own destiny.
last bit of advice is in keeping with the approaching Thanksgiving season – as
we pause to remember the first Thanksgiving and the brave Pilgrims who risked
their lives, fortunes and well-being in order to create a new life in a land
that they had never seen. Let their
courageous example encourage your heart, and their perseverance inspire your
spirit in this season of gratitude. As
they did, use all the means at your disposal, especially your passion and your
enduring vision, to serve your dreams and reach your destination.