It’s Time for a Change

I’ve always been a big fan of change.  I’ve lived in five different states (and countless states of mind…).  I’ve been a retail slut, a disk jockey and even installed telephones for Ma Bell before the breakup.  Change is good; it keeps you alive and learning new stuff.  However there’s a reluctance to change when it comes to careers.   Sheeeesh…how 20th century.

It’s a new world now; we’ve changed the very definition of careers and jobs.  Loyalty is to “Brand Me” and not toeing the line for the company, or at least so says Tom Peters, Faith Popcorn and Laura Berman Fortgang (if the names aren’t familiar get ye hither to Amazon and search on those authors…).  The good news is we’ve redefined the “job hopping” and most employers see variety in short-term jobs (two to three years) as desirable.

The old adage of 20 years in the same company is outa here as evidence of stability.  Hell, companies aren’t stable and those that are aren’t keeping up.  Why should we expect the work force to be stable?  And why do you think they call it “Fast Company?”  To grow means to go.

Go we will, and quickly.  We’re living in dog years.  That means the “seven year itch” is now only 12 months long; at least in a dot com world, maybe 24 months in traditional environs.  I’ll be gracious and tell you three to five years is the max time you should spend in one company even if you move between divisions or gain other responsibilities.  You’ve got to stretch to grow, experience different cultures, learn from and deliver on others mistakes, see the world (c’mon it’s better than joining the Navy…).

The rules have changed and if you’re gonna play the game you better play smart.  Here are a few ideas to keep you at the top.

  • Cultivate relationships outside of work: vendors, associations, trade magazine editors, etc.
  • Volunteer for new projects and/or create a few on your own.
  • Constantly garner new skills, take classes, read – build your brand.
  • Get close to three recruiters and send them candidate referrals.  You’ll get a big karma pay off in the end.
  • Re-write your resume every quarter, if you don’t have anything new to add get busy, you’re not doing enough.

    Naturally you’ll have to walk the tight rope with your spouse and the kids, and of course if both of you are working and the kids are in high school you’re somewhat restricted to local or tele-commute gigs.  But heh, you’re reading this…you’ve already got a modem.  Whadda ya waitin’ for? 

     Of course this is only my opinion but it’s one I value highly.


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