By Martin Yate, CPC
Facing the facts of life
You are somewhere along the path of what will likely be a fifty-year work-life, and during this time you can expect economic recessions to swing by every 7–10 years.
You will change jobs (not always by choice) about every four years, and you will probably have three or more distinct careers over the span of your professional life.
This adds up to twelve or more job changes over fifty years, about half of them happening in good economies and half in times of economic downturn, and with three of them involving the much greater challenges and financial dislocation associated with changing, not just your job, but your entire career.
What you can do about them
You live at a time when change is constant, a given in your professional life. This means a successful career no longer comes guaranteed with the purchase of your college diploma. You have to learn to live with change and adapt to the needs of a constantly shifting professional landscape. Take responsibility for your professional destiny now and you will be positioned to seize the abundant opportunities that accompany a changing of eras. Take responsibility and you can change your situation today, and your tomorrows forever.
The most critical professional survival skill
Given that you have the requisite technical skills for your job, the most important skills you can ever develop for your economic survival in this world are job search and career management skills. When a company dispenses with your services, it’s nothing personal: the company is doing what it must do to survive and satisfy the shareholders. This is a valuable life lesson: take control of your life, your economic survival, and your success by acting with the same forethought, objectivity, and self-interest as a corporation.
Welcome to Me, Inc.
It’s time to get serious about guiding the trajectory of your life, and you need to begin by thinking of yourself as Me, Inc., a financial entity that must always act in the interests of its economic survival. Like any corporation, Me, Inc. has products and services to sell: the ever-evolving skill-bundles that define the “professional you.” And just like any corporation, these products and services are branded and sold to your targeted customer base: employers who hire people like you.
The success of Me, Inc., representing the financial stability and fulfillment of your life, will depend on how well you run your company. You will greatly improve your odds of success if you emulate the behavior of successful companies: to do this just establish ongoing initiatives for Research and Development, Strategic Planning, Marketing & Public Relations, and Sales.
The five foundations for your professional success
Do it now
You have been raised to be a good consumer and to live in debt. The NY Times believes you spend eight hours a day in front of a screen, and researchers estimate you absorb up to 3,000 advertising messages a day. To make your dreams come true, you have to break free of this indoctrination and invest yourself, your time, and your income in the activities that will make Me, Inc. successful and give you the opportunity for a fulfilling life.
Martin Yate, CPC, author of Knock 'em Dead: Secrets & Strategies for Success in an Uncertain World, is a New York Times and international bestseller of job search and career management books. He is the author of 11 job search and career management books published throughout the English speaking world and in over 50 foreign language editions. Over thirty years in career management, including stints as an international technology headhunter, head of HR for a publicly traded company and Director of Training and Development for an international employment services organization.