For better or for worse, the days of signing on with a big company and enjoying long-term or lifetime employment are gone.
Here’s a fact: According to a Conference Board study, the average lifespan of an S&P 500 company was 75 years back in the 1920s. It had fallen to 27 years in the 1970s and now it’s down to 15 years!
This is important because most people equate the stability in their lives to the safety of their jobs. That safety is gone. This means we need to think of stability from a different perspective:
The only security you have is in your skills, and your ability to market yourself and your skills effectively.
Neither you nor I have a crystal ball that will tell us how well your current employer will be doing two years from now. With that background, here’s what you can do to “stabilize” your career:
- Study successful people. Learn what they have done and follow suit.
- Study those whose careers have floundered. Find out why and avoid those pitfalls.
- Stay current with technology.
- Be willing to move for a new job. Mobility is key today.
- Advance your professional education. Never stop learning.
- Understand the current problem sets companies are facing and be able to provide the solutions.
- Find a niche that combines your talents and your interests.
- Become an expert in your field.
- Be flexible. The business climate changes rapidly today. If you’re inflexible, you’ll be left behind.
Although you can’t depend on a never-ending career at a major company today, remember that you still can rely on yourself. You just need to be smart and make the effort.