Big events change things. The Great Depression reshaped the world view of at least several generations of Americans. And, the same is happening as we emerge from the late, unlamented Great Recession.
Many of us will never again look at the world of work the way we used to. It’s different now—we’re absolutely convinced of that–even if we aren’t exactly sure what the changes are or what they may mean for our careers and future wellbeing.
One change, however, is already apparent. We now know that we can no longer manage our careers the way we have in the past. During those seemingly carefree days, we focused on our careers just once a year—during our annual performance appraisal and salary review. The rest of the time we concentrated on doing our job, believing that such an approach would provide the best measure of job security.
Sadly, the Great Depression proved otherwise. It didn’t matter how loyal we were or how strong our contribution was, if we were in the wrong place at the wrong time, we found ourselves suffering career cardiac arrest or what the pundits call unemployment. We quickly and painfully learned that doing our job wasn’t enough to ensure we would keep it.
So, what is the minimum daily requirement for a healthy career in this new world of work?
To answer that question, you have to know what constitutes a healthy career. I think it’s one that provides you with genuine career security—the ability to stay employed in a job of your choosing regardless of the financial condition of any one employer or the entire economy.
Unlike job security which is controlled by employers, career security is something you create for yourself. And that’s where the minimum daily requirements come in. If you want to keep your career healthy, you have to pay attention to it every day. In other words, you have to work at your career the same way you work at your job.
What tasks should you perform?
There are seven facets to a healthy career, and you should try to work on all seven daily. They are:
• Adding to your expertise in your profession, craft or trade;
• Expanding and nurturing your network of contacts;
• Acquiring ancillary skills to extend where and how you contribute;
• Increasing your ability to adapt to new work situations and environments;
• Identifying and finding ways to work with the winners in your field;
• Giving back by sharing your talent with others in your community; and
• Pacing yourself so you are always able to do your best work.
As the Great Recession has unfortunately made clear to all of us, you can’t rely on an annual checkup to ensure your career is healthy. In today’s turbulent, unpredictable world of work, you have to pay attention to your career each and every day.
Thanks for reading,