Many of you will read this and think “That doesn’t apply to me.” For many of you that is true, but if you are over the age of 50 and thought that then congratulations I like your attitude! Everyone should pay attention, but if you are 50 you still have 20, 30 or more years left. What are you going to do with it?
Lifetime Employment is Dead
Tom Peters reminds us that there have been very few situations of guaranteed employment. Today there definitely no guarantees other than two essential factors. To Peters the things that are important are:
- The signature of your work
- The vitality of our network
These two things will determine out professional fate.
Peters reminds us that we all come from a history of entrepreneurs. Working for someone else is really a relatively recent phenomenon of human history. As Peters says “I am simply reminding us that we who made it this far along the evolutionary path are highly skilled and resilient survivors from the get-go.” We do have what it takes.
We do have to buff up our skill sets. Peters, in concert with Dan Pink, says we need to sharpen our “sales” skills. You have to be able to network like crazy. Today the is not only the in-person skills but also the technology skills. Peters says it may be difficult but it can be done by normal people. He says “…life will doubtless appear to be more precarious, the odds are actually pretty good, very good in fact, that the improving skill set and enhanced network will enhance our long-term ‘career’ viability— and will be a damn sight more fulfilling that the lot of the cubicle slaves….”
So decide what you are going to do? If you are 50 or 60 and you find yourself out in the cold it is up to you to make your way.
And all of you Gen X and Gen Y workers had better be paying attention. The only guarantee of a job is the one you create. Peters created the concept of “Brand You” over 15 years ago and the importance is going to continue to grow.