As I’ve noted in previous posts, America’s employers are now shedding jobs they will never replace and redefining what it means to be a qualified candidate. In effect, they are offering fewer employment opportunities and making it harder to be selected for the jobs that do exist. They are paying more money to recruit and retain employees, but only for those they deem to be “persons of talent” – people who can and will make an extraordinary contribution on-the-job. The individuals who do only what is asked of them need not apply.
This new focus on talent is quietly but inexorably sweeping through the American business community. Although its influence is already reshaping the employment experience of countless workers, it is not yet recognized by many of them. In essence, those who are most affected by the change are the ones who are least aware of it.
That lack of recognition does not, however, diminish the inherent challenge of this new dynamic. Today’s leaner and meaner workplace leaves America’s working men and women with only two options. And because the change around them will not stop or even pause, they have no choice but to choose the one they will pursue.
Option #1: America’s workers can passively accept this new world of work and submit themselves to whatever consequences it may impose. Though every single one of them has been endowed with talent, they can ignore that gift and surrender their future to haphazard opportunities and progress by chance. And, they can turn their backs on the capacity for excellence their talent affords them and watch their standard of living decline as their career careens from one unrewarding role to another.
Option #2: They can proactively confront this new environment and forge a course of action that works for them. They can claim their inalienable right to equality with employers in the American workplace. They can stop working as 3/5 of a person and reset themselves as the fully capable persons of talent they are and employers need them to be. And, they can then realize that claim by establishing themselves as career activists – “freed agents” who have the requisite skills and knowledge both to excel at their work on-the-job and achieve success throughout their career in the modern American workplace.
There is no other option. And making no choice is a choice—it is choosing to give in. Every American worker now has to set the course of their career or have their course set for them. They can reclaim the American Dream or let it fade away. The decision is theirs. Theirs alone. Only they can make it. And they must.
Thanks for reading,
Note: The above post was drawn in part from my new book, The Career Activist Republic. To read more, get the book at Amazon.com, in many bookstores and on Weddles.com.