5 Career Trends that have changed the way we work

You might not have realized yet, but you recently got a promotion. You’re the boss now and you  have a job.  Today’s new reality is that you are the boss of your own career and your job is to create work for yourself.  That might sound like quite a radical idea but in fact, it’s nothing new.  As early as 1994, William Bridges outlined the idea of how to JobShift: How to Prosper In a World Without Jobs; in 1997, Tom Peters wrote the seminal Fast Company cover story “The Brand Called You,” and 2001, Daniel Pink emerged with Free Agent Nation.

The New Career Model

Timothy Butler, head of Harvard Business School’s Career Center, gave us a really accurate idea of the new career model in his book “Careers in Business.”  He likened it to being a surfer. You’re on your own platform (a surfboard) constantly moving, supported by an ever-changing base (a wave). You’re always on the alert, looking for the next wave, responsible for your own ride.

What do these “New Work Order” trends look like and what do they mean for you?

Out: Full-time Work   In: Contract / Part-Time/ Consulting Work

    The promise of full-time work is no longer guaranteed. We live in a world where every job is temporary and you constantly have to be thinking of what’s next. Always get compliments from the boss on particular tasks? Good. Now become a consultant in that area. Let your friends and colleagues know you have a few hours available per week to consult on best practices, if their workplaces need help (you’d be surprised how many do and weren’t advertising). Also, apply to those intriguing part-time offers you read on Craigslist. Short-term contract positions can be freeing – as much as you’re trying to impress your client, you have the power to fire them in a very drama-free fashion if it’s not working out to your liking, as well.

    Out: “The Desk Job” In: Virtual Work

    We no longer need to be tied to a desk or work in the same location, for some jobs.  Technology has enabled us to be work anywhere. Thanks to video chats over Skype or FaceTime, you can even check in with your boss from anywhere. If you’re comfortable with non-traditional modes of work communication, you can prove yourself to be a reliable go-to person in some companies. This new trend is critical for many professionals who were let go in the recession, as it opens up opportunities for the many “contractors” out there,  even for the full-timers who can now work flexibly at home, in co-working spaces, or even the library, while their colleagues are across the city or the country working in traditional pods.

    Out: Employee-mindset     In: Vendor-minded, Free-agent

    If you rely on the traditional employee-mindset, where one is going to be taken care of by one employer, you may be missing the boat. If your employer can’t pay you what you’d hoped, you can build your own career by adding on other freelance projects. You can be a vendor-minded, free-agent in many ways – whether it be simple additions like dog-walking or working in a wine shop  in addition to your 9-to-5, or actually cobbling together multiple projects at the same time, in multiple client offices. You’d be surprised what a little creative scheduling can do towards getting you the career you hoped for. Having a “Plan B” can enable you to truly shine while working at “Plan A,” and can actually make you more productive, not less, because of your confidence boost.

    Out: Reliant on stable skill set In: Retool  & reinvention

    You should always have a stable skill set. However, if your employer isn’t sending you to the relevant conferences or seminars where you can expand your knowledge, you need to become proactive. First, propose to your current employer, if you have one, that they send you to events where you can learn and expand all for the benefit of company’s productivity.  Second, whether they send you or not, you need to also be searching online for the most relevant podcasts and free webinars in your chosen field, so you can hear tales from the trenches by the experts you want to emulate. Adding to your skill set might help you realize you want to change your direction, or might simply make you better at what you do now – but either way, it’ll be empowering. Knowledge is power.

    Out: Extreme professional modesty      In:  Proactive self-promotion using Social Media

    We no longer have to wait to win an award or get a major promotion in order to draw attention to our skills and talents. Using the free and simple tools of social media, such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook, you can establish yourself as a smart and credible expert.  Fancy yourself an expert in the world of film? Blog and share links to your reviews while on Facebook. Or post news links to articles on your field of choice on Facebook and simultaneously micro-blog in 140 characters or less on Twitter. Brevity is the soul of wit, and you’ll get points for cleverness and sharing pieces targeted well to your followers.  If you’re trying to establish yourself as a person about town, connect socially to friends and colleagues on FourSquare. You’ll see what’s new and hot in real time and can make future plans while also getting discounts with check-ins at many local eateries. Who says the new work order can’t be fun?

    Not sure what it really means to “establish yourself as an expert” in the social networking world, or how you even do it? Then, I hope you’ll join me for a very HANDS-ON, in-depth look at how you can make LinkedIn work for you at Tuesday, May 31st at 9.30!  I believe so strongly in the importance of these skills that I have made it very cost effective and have also created a special: Be a friend, Bring a friend. This two part, 6+ small group workshop, where you’ll get a comprehensive critique of your LinkedIn profile, according to my 10 C Rule Checklist.

    Find out more about the Social Media Bootcamp, or take the bull by the horns and sign up NOW! Space is limited.


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