Recent newspaper articles suggest that many of the jobs of the future don’t yet exist. The challenge for people today is to ensure they have the knowledge, skills and abilities needed to stay employable in an ever-changing job market. Many people believe that their jobs will always be there, and if they work hard they will always have a job.
However, look at an example in the casino industry. Change people, who once seemed to be everywhere on casino floors, have now been replaced by cash-in and ticket-out slot systems that have eliminated hundreds of jobs. This is just one example of the impact of technology, changing business directions or product obsolescence.
Do you think your job is guaranteed and will always be there? Unless you work for yourself and own the company, there is likely no guarantee that you will always have a job. General Motors recently announced a buy-out for approximately 35,000 employees, many of whom worked in the same jobs for many years and are unlikely to find similar positions in the automotive industry.
The question that arises is how to place yourself in the job market so there are always positions you are qualified to fill. It all begins with looking at your current industry. Is it growing or shrinking? Are its products or services increasing in demand or tapering off more every year? Staying employable is an ongoing process. It is up to you to stay employable, since most employers don’t look at it as their responsibility.
1. Start off with a regular review of your current knowledge, skills and abilities. Are you competent in many positions or limited to the one you are in presently? Typically, people who can perform in a number of positions are considered more valuable and are more likely to be retained if an organization downsizes.
2. What are the trends for your industry? Is there growth or decline? Is it time to look at moving into another line or industry? Is your organization a possible takeover target? Mergers and takeovers often result in mass layoffs and terminations.
3. Check the business sections of major newspapers to find out which industries are growing, what types of people are needed and what knowledge and abilities they need.
4. Is it time to get more formal training or education, and if so, in what area?
5. Create a career plan that will give you focus, and identify a course of action that will help you move from where you are to where you want to go.
6. Create definite timelines with measurable action items that will help you put your career plan into action.
7. Review your career plan at least every six months and reassess your direction and accomplishments. Make changes as necessary as your knowledge, skills and abilities increase.
8. Start today. Far too often you have little or no warning that your skills are no longer needed or that your job may go away.
You are responsible for your own career. The last thing you want to end up saying is, “I never saw it coming,” if and when a pink slip with your name on it is handed to you.