After the articles in the New York Times yesterday and today regarding an all-time high in the increase of month-over-month unemployment, I am thanking my lucky stars that I have a good job. I also feel for my friends who are just graduating from school with large loans and a smaller number of job prospects than graduates had just one year ago. And I think of my friends who want to move on from where they are, and are frustrated with the lack of openings to move to.
In my career, I have changed jobs fairly often, mostly because the industries I was in demanded it. In theatre and in nonprofit, you often have to move on to move up. I recently met two people with the completely opposite type of resume. One has been at his job for 8 years and the other for 24 years. In years past, that kind of dedication would be relished by companies. Today, many companies wonder why anyone would stay one place for so long, and they wonder why I have changed jobs as often as I have. It seems that we are in a time when all career moves, regardless of tenure at a company must be justified.
What if we could turn the paradigm of job hunting on its head? What if we, and possible employers, looked at every employee as their own CEO of their own brand, “Me, Inc.” and evaluated what all of those “Me, Inc.”s could do for the company? My friend and mentor, Richard, is a perfect example of this kind of outlook. His personal brand promise is that he realigns companies, or specific departments within companies, especially those that are in turmoil, and gets them going in the right direction again. Once finished with the alignment, he leaves a competent team in place and moves on. He doesn’t enjoy keeping the boat going on course once it knows its destination. He prefers the messy of business of turning it around rather than maintaining smooth sailing.
What if we could all do that – what if we could drop into an organization, do work that plays to our strengths and what we enjoy, and then pass it on to someone for the next step necessary, and the step that that next person happens to be good at and enjoys? Why does it need to be about stick-to-it-iveness? Why can’t it be about doing what we love, in the areas in which we are talented, for as long as that lasts? ‘d like to believe that the answer is that we can, and should do that, and eventually the working world will catch on.
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