With the unemployment rate the lowest it’s been in 50 years it’s easy to feel complacent at work. You have a good job, a decent salary, and an impressive job title, so why worry about taking risks or investing in your personal brand? The reality is that there is no such thing as job security. Even in a robust economy, you can still find companies like WeWork, Daimler, and Morgan Stanley cutting thousands of jobs. The professional landscape has also changed. Gone are the days where employees spend their entire careers with one company. Career change is the new normal. With job tenure averaging about four years, career progression is no longer linear. Basically, the career ladder has turned into something resembling more of a jungle gym. That’s why it’s more important than ever to be the CEO of your career.
Job security is nonexistent
It used to be that companies were loyal to employees and vice versa. Not anymore. As the CEO of your career, you need to recognize that job security is a thing of the past. One reason is that technology is continually changing. It’s no secret that robots have replaced human workers in several American factories. Artificial intelligence is also transforming the employment landscape. A study by McKinsey revealed that insurance agents, bookkeepers, and mortgage brokers all spend a considerable portion of their workday performing routine tasks that could be automated. Many companies are also opting to hire temporary or part-time employees over full-time workers. The reason for this is cost savings. According to one report, 43% of companies using gig workers are saving at least 20% in labor costs.
Career change is the new normal
A study conducted by LinkedIn showed that over the last 20 years, the number of companies people worked for in the five years after they graduated college has nearly doubled. Why? One reason is that switching jobs is one of the fastest ways to move up in the ranks and secure a higher salary. With raises hovering at around 3%, staying at the same company can cost you thousands of dollars with no real guarantee of job security. Other reasons to change jobs include the desire for learning and growth opportunities as well as work-life balance. Today’s labor force is also much more mobile. According to one survey of 8,000 next-gen professionals, 89% said they would move for the right company or role.
The corporate ladder has collapsed
A generation ago, you could find someone at the same company for 30 years, climbing the corporate ladder and retiring with a healthy pension. Since then, the ladder has disintegrated. It has been replaced with what Cathy Benko terms a “corporate lattice” or what Sheryl Sandberg calls a “jungle gym.” Career progression is no longer well-defined within companies. As a result, workers today have a bigger responsibility to take charge of their professional growth. It’s up to you as the CEO of your career to be proactive, flexible, and creative. Document and quantify your accomplishments on an ongoing basis. Communicate with your manager and create a succession plan. Chart a long-term career path and stick to it.
Take control of your future
Being the CEO of your career involves taking control of your destiny. It requires you to be confident and diligent about ongoing education and skill-building. It also means recognizing your value and investing in yourself so that you can continue to position yourself as an asset. Take inventory of your skills, experiences and talents and use that information to inform your personal brand. Understand that you are the primary decision-maker in your professional life. Most importantly, don’t settle for less than you deserve. As the American author, Earl Nightingale said, “Remember: jobs are owned by the company, you own your career!”
If you’ve been thinking about being your own boss for a while but aren’t sure if it’s the right time, download my free guide: 5 Signs It’s Time to Leave Your Soul-Sucking Job!