Saturday, March 27, 2010

Time Magazine Cover Story on Jobs... & Job Ruminations

Solid Time Magazine cover story by Barbara Kiviat titled "The Workforce: Where Will the New Jobs Come From?".

All about the economy and how eventual real growth will have to be in the form of newly created jobs (and job categories), I particularly found of note the ending of the piece (below) and what it make me consider.

"If the key characteristics of the American economy are flexibility and forward motion, then we would all be better off if people felt more support — both financial and social — to invest in their education, switch jobs and industries and venture out to start new firms.

Establishing job creation as a discrete goal is a misleading enterprise. Beyond cyclic swings in demand, what we're really talking about creating is not jobs but ideas and technologies and more efficient ways of producing and selling goods and services."

I've always felt that career success is a complicated recipe which incorporates the following ingredients (probably among others):

1. hard work
2. ability/proficiency

3. knowing what you want to do and actually doing it
4. being in the right place at the right time

5. being in a place where the first two things above matter and the second two are possible

Of this list, hard work and ability should (hopefully) be required things (but, sadly... aren't always).

Knowing what you want to do and actually doing it is hugely important because for many, that doesn't describe their work situation. When you hear stories about people who came up from the bottom floor of something, they in many cases were fortunate enough to know early on that thing was what they wanted, so they could start working on it early in their career when most everyone is on the bottom floor. Where it gets tougher (but, not impossible) is for people who don't know early on what they want to do... and don't have the same flexibility to start at the bottom of a field.

The fourth one is just as it's written... being in the right place at the right time is where many people have that big leap forward in their careers. If you combine effort and ability towards a goal that really matters to you, that right place at right time break "should" eventually come.

This is where the fifth career ingredient comes into play. There's a lot of different types of companies and work opportunities out there. Many of them are going to reward the first two, have the types of positions that let people let people who know their area of interest work in it and then have those chance to shine and advance... but, not all.

So, to tie back full circle to the Kiviat piece and quoted section at the end of it... I agree completely with her statement about people being willing to take career leaps, whether those be at a job role, company or industry level.

Working hard and becoming proficient at something is all good and well, but it should be at an activity that someone wants to do and in a place that provides rewards and opportunities to move forward.

Can be scary to move out of something comfortable that doesn't allow for this, but sometimes... it's just plain needed.