You’re Responsible for Your Own Career

Unfortunately the way that a lot of people do it is they take the most interesting job that happens to be randomly offered to them over the phone every several years.

So there are a couple things about the job landscape that have changed over the last decade and really since World War II the US job landscape has been changing and less so the rest of the world. 


The concept of lifetime employment, of no layoffs at a company is really, really dead now.  That is probably not even news to people really coming out of college, but for somebody who has been 20 or 25 years in their career it is and the idea that you’re going to work for one company and stay there for 40 years and get the gold watch just doesn’t happen anymore. 

You’re responsible for your own career.  You’re responsible for your own develop.  It used to be that you joined General Motors or Proctor & Gamble or Colgate and they would move into finance and then into sales and then maybe overseas and then back into marketing and then to planning, so after 20 or 30 years you actually are a kind of well rounded, seasoned individual.  Nowadays you have to do that yourself and you have to be thoughtful about what is my—not just my job today, but what is my career plan, how am I going to move myself around, how am I going to get experience. 

Unfortunately the way that a lot of people do it is they take the most interesting job that happens to be randomly offered to them over the phone every several years.  That is not the best way to really plan out your career.  It is how most people plan out their career.

But so really how the job landscape has changed is you are responsible for your own development.  You’ll stay typically in any particular job for four or five years on average.  You’ll be through 10 jobs in the course of your career and it’s really up to you to really think through what are the steps that are going to make the most sense for me, turning me into who I want to be 10, 25, 30 years from now. 

In Their Own Words is recorded in Big Think's studio.

Image courtesy fo Shutterstock

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