Careers are not what they used to be, and the jobs we love to hate are rapidly disappearing, at least in the format in which we expect them to show up.
Previous generations expected to graduate from college or high school and start out in a job or career in which they stayed for life. Most people expected to progress in the firm, or perhaps move to a company in the same industry, but although many gained promotions and pay increases, it was unlikely they would move too far from the starting point in terms of location and industry.
Things have changed – dramatically. Young people starting out today can expect to re-train around seven times over the course of their working lives. Yes, re-train for a new career, not just update skills or move to a different job in the same field.
Of course, some of the professions, like medicine, law or teaching still have quite a few jobs for life, but even in these careers, things are changing and with redundancies, downsizing, the collapse of pension funds and so on, no-one is really secure.
And of course, the pandemic has brought about huge changes, with many people losing their jobs, lots of uncertainty in sectors that usually thrive and more and more people working from home
The result is that we need to look at work in a different way.
So how do we plan for successful careers for ourselves and our children, in the face of so many barriers? The answer is to plan ahead and to think creatively.
The positive side of the changing trends in employment is that many practices which would have previously been frowned upon, have now become acceptable. For example, it is now ok to have several part-time sources of income, that is, to be a portfolio worker. In the past this type of situation was usually associated with people with low skills, who had to take several badly paid part-time jobs to make ends meet. Although unfortunately this situation is still the reality for some, more and more people are combining part-time employment and self-employment to make a lucrative income.
The internet has also provided opportunities for anyone to work from home. This is creating solutions for mothers or fathers who stay at home to look after their kids, people who have been made redundant or are unemployed, those with disabilities and people who need to supplement their pensions.
And it’s also more acceptable to change directions completely, allowing those who feel they have either made a mistake, changed their priorities or simply want to start something new to make radical changes without fear of marginalisation.
So, spend a bit of time thinking about the type of lifestyle you would like to have and the sort of career set up that would help you achieve it.
Sometimes you have to take a job just to pay the bills and it might not always be ideal, but if you use it as a stepping stone, you can spend your free time researching better options and plan the way ahead. If you can, get a job that will enable you to learn some new skills, but if that isn’t possible, remember that as well as paying the bills, a job can give you a reference for your next job.