Studies show that it only takes three to five years for over 50 percent of working skills to become obsolete. And business analysts are now saying that today’s high school graduate will have, on average, five completely different careers in their lifetime. Notice they’re not saying “five different jobs.” Five completely different careers or professions. What does that mean to you?
What it means is that it’s getting more difficult to guarantee yourself a job or a secure future. Face it…the days of working for a company for 30 years and getting a gold watch before you sail off into the sunset of retirement are gone. These are the days of the entrepreneur and fast-paced change. Companies are bought and sold, and managers slip in and out of various positions faster than most of us can track. Even doing an exemplary job for a successful company can’t guarantee your long-term professional future.
So what is the answer? First and foremost, treat your career like it is your own business. Develop a mindset that you are contracting with a company to hire your services. You must sell yourself, and then provide the best possible services at the best possible price. You must provide value beyond what is expected, and give customer service that is beyond reproach. Treat everyone around you as your customer—co-workers, management, the company’s customers, and other departments.
Conducting yourself in this manner will guarantee professional pride and value. You’ll be able to offer your services to any company knowing how valuable you will be to them, and your confidence and personal power will lead you through any job changes or career changes that you choose or are forced to make.
If you’ve chosen a career path, stay on top of the market. Read the trade magazines, and the periodicals of business in general. Stay aware of trends in your field. Make sure your creative thinking, decision making and problem solving skills are at their best. Be flexible and willing to learn. These are the skills that will get you through the many changes that will happen during the course of your career and enhance your ability to apply creativity to the demands of a changing world.
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