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New Directions

By Jim Ward

New Directions
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In work, we have the possibility of discovering ourselves.” (Anonymous)

Welcome to “New Directions“, my blog that will focus on career and workplace issues. I plan to address a myriad of issues affecting the workplace, but will also discuss career strategies, career mobility and development and leadership. First, let me provide some background on myself. I’m a career Human Resources executive and Professional Coach. I have been in the field for over 25 years. I spent 15 years at PIMCO as the Global Head of Human Resources. Before that I worked and lived in Asia for 7 years, working as Head of HR for a major Wall Street firm. During my career, I have had the opportunity to work with many different individuals as they dealt with their own career and workplace issues. In today’s workplace we all must deal with the corporate reality of how a change in management, corporate downsizing or restructuring can impact us personally. In addition, dealing with a difficult boss can often lead us to seek new employment and other career options.

In the 1950s people lived comfortable corporate lives. After graduating from college, they secured a position and 30 years later retired from the same firm with a gold watch and nice pension. This dream slowly disintegrated in the 1970s, beginning with the downturn in the automotive industry, the near bankruptcy of Chrysler and the competitive Japanese market. This changing business environment continued into the early 1980s with the recession brought about by the Middle East oil embargo. The Internet bubble burst of the 1990s also put thousands of people out of work. More recently, we experienced the worst financial crises since the Great Depression! In a short period of time, the world was on the brink of financial collapse. Suddenly, financial services professionals were out of work in mass! These events have required us to fundamentally change our view of “career management”. There has been a profound paradigm shift. During my business career, I have had the first hand experience of seeing this changing landscape from the front line. Many of the career myths we have come to believe, such as “the company will always take care of me”, no longer apply and are unrealistic in today’s world.

Why are careers important? For one, we spend half our life working. Our hope is to be engaged in an endeavor we like and have passion for. The bottom line is a large proportion of our life revolves around work and it behooves us to choose a vocation we actually enjoy. My next posting, what actually is the definition of “career”.

Until then, remember: “The Only Constant in Life is Change.” (Heraclitus, Greek Philosopher)

Jim

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