Not too fickle for skills for life …

“Nobody wants a job for life now” according to Katie Glass (Sunday Times, June 1st). Nor apparently do we “want to be stuck with a marriage, ahappy-worker house or a haircut for life.” Well, call me boring as I’m guilty of ticking most of those boxes. Anyway, you may not want to do the same thing, or work at the same place, for your entire career but there are a few simple rules you should follow to future-proof your work-life and ensure that you get the best out of what you have to offer. Even for Generation Y, careers can be satisfying, bring strong personal relationships and help to pay the bills so consider these tips to make career-change work for you.

  1. Loyalty matters. You may think firms aren’t loyal to employees anymore but the world doesn’t work without basic standards of decency. When we take a job, we have a responsibility to provide certain services to our employers so I would suggest that you move on with style and grace. Put your time in, do a good job and don’t leave people in the lurch. Your reputation counts and good manners cost nothing. In order to be to be taken seriously, plan your moves carefully and don’t be too flighty when it comes to jumping ship.
  2. People matter too. Whatever your job, or how often you change it, you will always live or die by the quality of your interpersonal relationships. Managers need a high EQ these days. We are judged on whether we are a good team player or not. When running your own business, you need to appeal, on a personal level, to clients and suppliers. Keep your personal skills sharp as you go on your career journey.
  3. The ethics of work. Whatever you are doing, or want to do next, remember all the things your mother taught you. You get out what you put in. If a job is worth doing, its worth doing properly. In order to be taken seriously, and to make some headway even if you are changing jobs regularly, make yourself invaluable and appreciated. If you do feel like trying your hand at a start-up, you’ll find you need a strong work ethic if you are going to make enough to cover your outgoings.
  4. Skills are skills. Whichever job you are in, and however often you change it, you need to be able to offer something to an employer. Marketable and transferable skills can be as simple as “great with people” i.e. big smile and a warm manner to “brilliant at programming” or a computer whizz. What are your skills? Refine and maintain your marketability to support your goals which could be to make a lot of money, to run your own company or to take every summer off. If you don’t have a lot to offer, you reduce your bargaining power.

Ms Glass ends her article by saying that, “Many are happy dipping in and out of temporary jobs. And enthusiastic about moving on.” Pay attention to the foundation of your career to make sure you have somewhere to move on to.


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