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Have We Been Putting Our Careers At Risk Since The Recession Hit?

first_imgWhen I talk with people who are looking for work I get the sense that it is not just the change of employment status that is causing their anger and confusion. It is the sense that the entire way the employment contract works has been radically shifted on them. Many of our fathers and mothers worked for the same company for a long time, retiring after committing themselves to a lifetime of loyal and faithful service. That has somehow flipped into hoping we can get a contract job with a 30-day separation clause.Over the past 20 years we have grown our economy by buying stuff we don’t need with money we don’t have from companies we don’t like. We bought cheap clothes at warehouse stores while bemoaning the loss of textile jobs in the south and Wal-Mart’s labor practices. We grabbed the latest deal on electronics at the local Best Buy while feeling robbed of solid high-tech jobs that were being shipped overseas. And many of us (me included) have participated in cost-cutting exercises at work only to feel a nervous shiver through our spine when we think about our children’s future.As consumers we have demanded that things be cheaper, faster, better and more accessible. But as employees we are experiencing first-hand the consequences of those demands. It is what might be called a “total bummer”: Can’t I buy what is cheap, available and makes me feel good and forget all the other stuff?Yes, we can do that. And then we can watch our jobs go overseas. When that happens the key question we have to ask ourselves is “What jobs will stay here?” Fortunately there is plenty of opportunity for hope. We are still the most creative and innovative country on earth. The world still looks to us to define cultural and technical trends. Our iPods may be made in China, but they are designed in the U.S.But being a part of the team that designs the next iPod, or comes up with a new internet solution, or thinks of a better way to create clean energy requires something different of us as job seekers and talent – We have to be willing to change the way we think about work.Finding work with meaning, doing what you love, bringing fun to work and being comfortable, or even taking advantage of ambiguity and unexpected change are all critical parts of being successful in this century. They are not HR flights of fancy. In fact, I feel confident in guaranteeing that if you can’t answer what your dream job is, if you don’t know what gets you up in the morning, and if you don’t know what makes your work fun and enjoyable that your career is at risk.last_img read more