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You Can Launch Your Career – Lifetime Employment vs. Lifetime Employability

August 10, 2010

Today the best way to move your career up or in any direction you choose is to put ‘You’ in the drivers seat. Your options are *boundaryless.

From the 1950’s to the 1980’s our fathers or grandparents may have worked for one company during their lifetime and relied on getting promoted from an entry level position to an executive or CEO of the company. Options at that time had boundaries, but if you followed the rules the sky was the limit.

My husband, Richard, worked for Bell Labs for 32 years, which became Lucent Technologies, before he took early retirement. He worked for them straight out of college after getting his Master Degree from MIT as an electrical engineer. He knew that if he did well, worked hard and was a dedicated employee he would get promoted up the corporate ladder, either on the technical or managerial side, and he did. We felt his career path was almost guaranteed and secure at that time.

Relying on one company to promote you during your entire career is long gone, due to downsizing, mergers and acquisitions. Farming out technical work to foreign countries, like India, have put departments and divisions out of business causing mass layoffs nationwide.

Embracing the concepts of “Lifetime Employment” vs. “Lifetime Employability” can make all the difference in the world. Edgar Schein, a noted specialist in organizational psychology and career dynamics, developed this concept. Why? Because it can help you feel more in control about your future by putting you in the drivers seat. You can steer it in any direction that you choose. Schein emphasizes that career development, known today as Career Management, is about achieving flexibility with an ongoing emphasis on re-evaluating and developing your skills in order to remain employed over your entire career, no matter what field or industry you are working in.

There are certain concepts and actions embracing “Lifetime Employability”.

    #1 Limited job security
    #2 Jobs are temporary. Projects and contracts may be here today and gone tomorrow.
    #2 Proficiency in transferable skills, most importantly keeping up with technology, replaces seniority as a measure of success.
    #3 Self-Directed Career Management – have plan ‘A’, ‘B’ and ‘C’ in your back pocket.
    #4 Research shows that having anywhere from 3 to 7 careers in your lifetime is the norm.
    #5 *Boundaryless careers can be a door opener because they can move across industries and organizations, not within just one company.

I have found that putting in the effort to evaluate who you are, and what you want to do is well worth the time and planning you put into it.

The payoff can be exciting and empowering, opening doors that you may never have imagined.

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