There was a time in the job market when employees worked at the same company for their entire career. They were taken care of with generous benefits, company paid health insurance, eminent promotions, a pension and a retirement party, with a gold watch for a gift. IBM, Kraft, and Jenner and Block were the places to work for growth opportunities and stability in your career.
These employees expected to be taken care of by their company in addition to being coached as to what they should do next in their career. They looked to their co-workers and managers to define their potential, rather than defining it themselves. If they were promoted by their manager this must have meant they were talented and deserved the promotion, and if they were not, there must have been something wrong with their performance.
Looking back on this, it seems like an illusion. This way of thinking is over. There’s no “golden parachute” at companies anymore, unless it’s negotiated before hand by an attorney in an iron-clad employment agreement. But for most of us we are all fighting for own survival in the job market trying to stay employed, yet still plan for our careers.
Since our companies are no longer managing our careers, we need to do it ourselves. Interviewing thousands of candidates while working as an executive recruiter, I came to the final revelation; you must manage your own career to survive in business. You can’t depend on someone at our workplace to guide you in your next career move or to determine what skills you have that differentiate you from your competition and where you should work to best utilize your innate talent.
Company mergers, acquisitions, bankruptcies and lay-offs are a reality in the workplace as our international economy moves forward at a feverish pace. Nothing is forever at a company where decisions are frequently based on the bottom line financial health of the firm for the shareholders to make a tidy profit. When a company hires you, they do so because you fill an immediate need a company has. That’s it!
There’s really not much more to the hiring process then the current value you offer to a company. Your value to the company will continually be evaluated as will your commitment toward making the company successful. The lack of loyalty from companies these days is a fact. Human capital is replaceable in most cases except for the few superstars who manage to package their talents through branding and a successful track record in an industry.
Whether you’ve been working for two years or twenty, creating your own personal business plan is essential for a sustainable career. This plan is meant to be used as a guideline for your career by inspiring you to place some thought into what you want to do before you accept that next position. Take time to direct your own destiny. The only person who can determine what is best for you, is you. Don’t look to others for affirmation of your talents or depend on others for defining your success. Manage your own career and fulfill your own career goals.