As I pointed out in my last posting, the concept of career is changing. The traditional view of career is outdated and unrealistic in today’s economy. The self-managed career has replaced the traditional view; individuals are now in charge of their own destiny. To a certain degree, employees now regard themselves as free agents. Douglas T. Hall has written extensively on the new career contract. He first introduced this concept in his book, Career in Organizations (1976) and subsequently has written numerous articles on the changing view of career. He coined the concept of the “protean” career, after the Greek god Proteus who was able to change his shape at will. The protean career is one where the individual is in charge, not the organization. This new concept describes a person managing their own career, continuously learning, open to new possibilities, potentially having multiple careers and occupations over a lifetime. Today’s worker must rely on his/herself. The one in charge of one’s career destination and direction is the person. The real emotional gains resulting from the new definition of career are self-reliance, empowerment and a sense of self worth. Individual’s accepting the new self-managed career definition typically seek a job that suits their core values and passion, one that offers greater personal flexibility and work-life balance.
What does all this mean in terms of the right career strategy? Does it mean that you are to be self-serving, blindly and opportunistically moving from one employer to another? No, what I’m staying is to be mindful and prepared. Organizational loyalty is important. However, don’t put 100% of your faith in the organization to take care of you. Take control of your career! Adhere to the self-managed career definition. The profound changes in the business climate over the last 25 years requires us to think differently about ourselves, our careers and how to navigate organizational ambiguity.
Until next time: Choose your career not on the basis of what you know but who you are (Anonymous)