The tenets of career management training have been greatly impacted and may have to be substantially revised in response to the emergence of the “New Economy” in the United States. This “New Economy”, of course, has been somewhat violently forced upon Americans by way of the United States being part of the “New World Economy”.
It seems amazing that although the signals and signs of this approaching “sea change” in the world economic order of nations have been visible to Americans for at least a decade or more, we, as a nation, appear to be quite surprised and shocked at this turn of events. One possible explanation for the surprising nature of this reality shock is the added negative impact of the world economic upheaval of 2008-2009 and the trailing recession. Together, these two events greatly enhanced the negative effect of the New Economy on working class Americans, particularly those belonging to the Great American Middle Class.
How The New Economy Impacts Career Management Training
Three primary characteristics of the new economy combine to make planning and managing an occupational career a more challenging task.
This is arguably the most pervasive effect of this new economic age. It is now clearly apparent that entire industries that employ thousands of workers at all occupational and career levels which we thought were permanent entities, can simply vanish. What can you do if your life plan hinged on pursuing a career in an industry that simply ceases to exist? Traditional career management training does not address this phenomena.
2. Technology Advances
Many baby boomers may recall widespread speculative conversation during the 1960s and 70s about how the invention of computers would cause people to lose their jobs. The response from the “establishment” at that time was that these were irrational fears and in reality, the growth of computerization would create jobs. In retrospect, both predictions have become reality, however, the number of and variety of jobs eliminated by computers and computer associated technology far exceeds new jobs created.
3. Globalization Of Commerce And Labor
The maturation of many previously third world impoverished countries around the world during the past four decades has resulted in an ever growing source of competent, inexpensive labor to compete with the American labor force. The result of this world economy news is a serious long-term loss of jobs in the USA.
Impact Of The New Economy On Career Management Training
The following is a list of potential specific negative outcomes of the New Economy relative to career progression and career management.
General reduction in the number of people employed in your particular field
Reduction of opportunity within your field due to the exodus of companies/employees
Reduction of opportunity within your company because of offshore competition
Your company and others in the same field close because they can no longer compete
Adapting Your Career Management Plan For The New Economy
In the past, pursuing an employment career involved selecting an occupation or profession that you want to work within over a long period of time during which you would consistently advance in knowledge, achievement, stature, responsibility and compensation.
Any systemic changes within your actual occupational field were normally associated with positive advancement such as the discovery of new knowledge; improved applications or methods; increased efficiencies and/or lower costs, etc.
In the new economy, this previously “normal” evolution within career fields has become distorted by the previously listed negative outcomes. The same is true for your personal orderly career progression as you originally envisioned.There have always been reasons or unusual circumstances that could arise and necessitate that an individual pursuing a career in their chosen field would have to suddenly and unexpectedly change careers. Now, however, the tremendous uncertainty wrought by the new economic realities make forced career changes more likely than ever before. How can you plan for an experience like this in a way that allows you to maintain a feeling of comfort and still being in control of your life? Career management training must be updated to teach how you can expand the parameters of your career plan to accommodate the new realities. If you are just starting out in a career, make sure that they are addressed in your original career plan.
Start Broadening Your Vision
Beginning now, start envisioning yourself in alternate careers that might appeal to you. Do this even though there are no imminent problems in your current career.
Seek and identify other industries, careers, occupations, etc., that require similar knowledge, skills, education and behavioral competencies as your present career. As you uncover potential alternate career paths, join an association or some other type of network of workers those fields. Lastly, find recruiters serving those alternative fields and establish relationships.
If you have been working in your field at least 2-3 years and perhaps have even begun moving up the ladder, assess your proven skills and core competencies at this point. Consider them from your own viewpoint as well as assessments on your annual performance reviews. Additionally, you may utilize “career assessment” and “career interest” testing available online at sites such as LiveCareer.com. This feedback will be of value to you for your initial career planning as well as career tracking and management in later years.
Updating traditional career management training to recognize and address these new challenges to pursuing a successful employment career can lessen the workplace stress related to the new economy.
Ron is a semi retired corporate exec with the current mission of helping middle class Americans survive in the post recession “New Economy”.