Careers are over

By Scot Herrick | Cube Rules Commentary

Oct 06

Most of us realize that just having a job does not make it a career. But there are a lot of us out there that think the goal in our adult working life is to have a career, not just a job.

Unfortunately, careers are over.

Think about it. In my personal history, I’ve been a project manager, a design dude, a sales person, a manager, a director (super manager), a pundit, a web dude, a consultant and an entrepreneur all the while looking for what I wanted to do when I grew up. Not exactly the traditional path to a career where ladders are climbed, enemies are vanquished and income hits the top 1%.

Earlier, in eighteen years working for the same company, I never had the same job nor manager for two consecutive performance reviews. Hell, in my current consulting gig, I’ve had four managers in one year. You expect to create a career out of this?

The days of our fathers and grandfathers — where grey flannel suits reigned and there was lifetime employment at a company — are over. I just can’t believe people still think that type of employment still exists. Have we seen the layoffs? The outsourcing? The downsizing? The increased productivity? How could any person reasonably conclude that a career could come from all that?

The answer is: it can’t.

There are no more careers. There is no job security. There is only employment security.

I have a friend who’s mantra on LinkedIn is this: “Have laptop, will travel.” That’s a good assessment of employment in this time and in this place. We have skills. We can use those job skills to help hiring managers reach their goals. And when we do our job well, we can show our business results to others, showing them that we can help them reach their business goals. That’s employment security.

Do enough of that and, perhaps, you get a career. But pining for a career is long gone.

Have a job in which you can produce business results that you can show the next hiring manager. And the next. And the next. That’s the miracle.

Harsh? Yup. True?

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About the Author

Scot Herrick is the author of “I’ve Landed My Dream Job–Now What???” and owner of Cube Rules, LLC. Scot has a long history of management and individual contribution in multiple Fortune 100 corporations.