The Career Challenge


When I graduated from school it was possible to enter the work force, work for one company your entire career, and then retire with a nice little (or not so little) pension for the rest of your life.  In fact, I know at least one of my contemporaries who did just that.  One company; their entire work-life.  It sounds boring to me, but I’m a bit of odd duck and I know there are others who would love to be able to do the same thing.

The problem is, those days are over.  The young person leaving school today — regardless of interests or education — is likely to change careers 5 to 7 times over the course of their life.  The pace of modernization means that there won’t be people selling smartphones in another 10 years because the new “thing” will be something different.  There will be some jobs — not careers — that remain. I suppose there will always be a need for garbage collectors, and doctors, and of course lawyers,  and day care workers, and such — but retraining will become more and more an issue and longevity on the job will become less and less common.  I came across an article: The downside of Limitless Career Options that brought back to mind things I’ve talked about with others for years.  Options aren’t always a good thing.  Sometimes we can option ourselves out of our own comfort zone!

The idea of options and the freedom to move from one thing to another also means that there’s no pathway to follow.  There’s no promotion path.  There’s no certainty, or hope of certainty.  There are only options.

Most of the time I’m in favor of choices.  For five years I wrote about the benefits of options as an RV’er.  But within a society there are times when some degree of certainty is desirable.  People — most of us anyway — need a few things to hang onto.  Right now the controversy in our country happens to be about Healthcare, but that is just one of many topics that we humans obsess about,  that we dream about, that we worry about.  A person needs some sort of anchors in their life upon which to hang the major events of life:  marriage, children, maturity, education, etc.

Young folks today are not going to be able to pattern their lives after the life of their parents; the mold is broken.  The opportunity for those lives is  over.  The way of the future will involve more uncertainty.

You may have seen news stories about one major U.S. corporation that has done away with hiring by resume and job application.  Realizing that young folks (and those are the ones they are after — not middle agers seeking to change careers) spend their times on their phones and devices the company has retooled it’s hiring practices around the places that Millennials congregate.  Now the “job applicant” doesn’t apply at all.  They engage with online adverts, they solve online problems, the ones that are successful move on to more and more complicated quizzes, problem solving challenges and the successful finally get a job offer — all without ever interacting with a human.  The HR (Human Resources) professional is nearly a thing of the past.  At least at one company.  Soon, at many, many, more companies.

I wonder where we’re going as a society.  We seem to be making it easier for corporations to make money; but the humans who are working for the corporate machine seem to be treated more and more like spare parts and not like creative assets.

I’m glad I’m out of the workforce.  I enjoyed my career when I was working but I see that for me, it’s a good thing I’m out of the picture.  I no longer think the way bosses want you to think.  I no longer have the stamina to do the crazy things I once did in the pursuit of a paycheck.  But to be truthful, the direction we are moving as a society is troubling.  When we were RV’ing I was caught up in the lifestyle and busy making plans and living out those plans.  Now I have time to think about things again.

Someone asked me the other day if I had given up on publishing Life Unscripted and I tried — briefly — to explain that we are in a state of transition.  It seems that daily I’m made more aware of the how RV’ing had changed me — in short term and long terms ways.  There were preoccupations that took up a lot of time; there were also insights that forever altered how we see life.  I know we’re on a glide path to something different.  But I have no idea yet exactly where we are headed.  It really has become a Life Unscripted!

 

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8 Comments

  1. I’m intrigued by how the Information Age has changed our world. I’m glad I’m not chasing a career anymore, but what an exciting time for Millenials! I’m not troubled at all by it, as I feel they have a firm grasp on where they are headed. Just MHO…

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  2. We were among the lucky ones. Once Dave was discharged from the army in his early 20s he went to work for the company from which he retired. But, he was glad to retire because the company’s policies were already changing to become less worker friendly.

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  3. I am one of the older workers who is caught in this tidal wave of revamping employers… I’m not quite old enough to retire, and not quite young enough to be what employers are wanting. Its quite frustrating… and rather a blow to the ego!
    We are re-inventing not only our humble abode (The Prairie Schooner) but also the way in which we look at the ways and methods to keep ourselves fed. It should be an exciting time, as we figure it all out and how we fit in this new order!

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    1. I hear ya!

      LOL — however, I hear in that “it should be an exciting time” a note of uncertainty which I think is appropriate anytime one finds oneself in a situation with shifting sands and uncertain footing. The world is not always fair and if the last year has taught us anything it’s that society standards are topsy turvy at the moment. I wish you the best of luck. I’m rooting for you.

      >

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  4. I seriously question the modern concept of career. The other day my youngest son announced earnings of $3,500 banked over 2 weeks of playing an online video game for a few hours a day.You did what? Silly me, all along I thought video play was a way to unwind after a late nightclub bartending shift. “Oh yea Mom, I have my own channel and followers”. Wow! My daughter has a political science degree but works as a marketing manager for a major online clothing retailer, she hates it and has started her own soap/cosmetics company on the side.Middle son is a chef managing dinner cruises on 6 yachts while working sound engineering/DJ aspirations on the side. Each and every one of them leading chaotic, see how the wind blows lives because that is the new normal. Sigh.

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    1. I SOOOOOO feel for you and for the Millennials who are caught up in the job market.

      I noticed an article about Elon Musk warning about the dangers of Artificial Intelligence and I “fear” that his points (while well founded) will be largely ignored in favor of profit. We are at a point in time when we can obsolete ourselves as a species. And what do 5 or 7 billion human animals do when there’s no work or pastime to keep us busy other than destruction and death to our fellows? Tis a ponderment.

      I WANT to think that at their age my life was as hectic and chaotic as theirs, but I know better. I want to think that nothing-has-changed-under-the-sun — but I don’t think that’s true. It’s easy for old folks to think their time on earth was unique and that those who follow them in history have it easy — but that’s not true either.

      Tis a challenge for them, and a challenge for us as well… >

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