by Ron Rakip

Definition: Career

An occupation undertaken for a significant period of a person’s life and with opportunities for progress.

synonyms: profession, occupation, vocation, calling, employment, job, day job, line, line of work, walk of life, position, post, sphere, métier

source:     English Oxford Living Dictionaries

A typical definition you will find (notwithstanding the exact wording) in any online dictionary.  A simple concept surrounded y complexity. Simple in that all it takes is to master a number of related skills, build a knowledge base, and find someone who is in need of a person possessing such attributes. Simple? Easy? Not so sure? If you’re leaning toward the last option, I’d agree with you.

The economic climate, being what it has been, has complicated the
process even further. The state of the economy is a very powerful force. It influences the actions of all people, especially those managing businesses.

We have been on a roller-coaster ride over the past couple of decades. Meteoric rises and falls of Internet businesses have fueled similar movements in almost all industries. So, how has the rise and fall of various industries affected the lives of the working person? Many have risen to great heights with opportunities galore, only to take a dive to much lower levels, being put on the street and then learning new ways to conduct business. And how many companies made an effort to recycle this displaced human capital or change their businesses to retain as many opportunities as possible? None (or at least very few), so only the very best talent has continued to “survive.”
There was a time when people not so fortunate to attend college could find a job, work their way up the corporate ladder from (say) the mailroom to upper management (even executive) level by just using their native intellect and learning on the job. Oh sure, it still happens today, but  a lot less frequently. Enter the college degree prerequisite. “People without a college degree need not apply” [to a job opening]. Now those with only strong native intellect are barely marketable. The effect on companies has been a reduction in loyalty. Companies are no longer giving candidates “a shot” when hiring because the talent has such a high level of education, often along with experience and credentials.

The big hit to loyalty and dedication has been a catalyst for continuously churning personnel; a very costly transaction for companies. When Baby Boomers and those who preceded them entered a job, a large percentage did so with no intent of leaving anytime soon and expected to remain until they received their “gold watch” or whatever was being offered for their loyalty at the time of their retirement. Now the call of the Millennials is something like “two years max and move on.” Many think it’s the only way to get ahead financially; or to remedy not being recognized for their efforts in a very complicated technological world.So where do we go from here? Baby Boomers are “retiring” earlier and earlier of their own volition or forced to do so, and then working longer at other jobs. And Millennials? Well, who knows. They will probably keep moving from one job to another. The fortunate workers who have clarity and direction will look for, create, and take advantage of opportunities afforded them, while the overwhelmed and distracted will need to focus and develop a strategy. And, they may need some help.

There is nothing wrong with reaching out for help to get clear on what’s most important, think through options, and come up with a plan. Career coaches help clients gain clarity, jump over roadblocks, and move forward all the time. If you feel stuck professionally, it may be just what you need to get unstuck.

Ron Rakip began his career in systems at MIT where he participated in the well-known Multics Project. He left academia and continued his work at commercial enterprises including Honeywell Information Systems where he played a major role in the development of High-Speed Non-Impact Printing Systems, Fidelity Investments and Iron Mountain Digital. Most of those years were spent in line and middle management positions of various disciplines. 

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