Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Celebrating the decline of the job for life

New US Department of Labor statistics quoted in the previous post continue to reveal more about employee/employer relationships and the career long relationship between individuals and their work. Despite the job and direction changes they expose, it wasn’t too long ago that the phrase ‘a job for life’ was associated with many careers.

Employers and employees took a longer term view of their commitment and it was not uncommon for a 25 or 30 year career to be spent within the same organisation. So why is it now time to celebrate these statistics and welcome the decline of the job for life?

Employers have benefited for some time from more fluidity in the labour market but the advantages to employees are only just beginning to be fully understood. With the ability to exercise choice throughout their career, the average worker has the chance to apply the lessons learned through direct, practical experience in their career decision making. 

This degree of insight into any individual relationship with work is invaluable. For example, a career decision made at 18 years of age might still be relevant at age 35 but if it is not, a more informed choice can be based on the understanding created through 20 years in work.

Interpreting an individual’s values, talents and goals enables such informed choices to be made. Decisions are based on what an individual has learned through their full range of experiences at work, what this qualifies them to do and what they are motivated to do in the future.

The decline of the job for life has created the opportunity for more individuals to pursue personal success. This in turn can create a greater number of successful and meaningful relationships with work. A reason to celebrate indeed.

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