The Vacuum in Our Careers

The Vacuum in Our Careers

The Vacuum in Our Careers

We’re all familiar with bubbles. There was the dot.com bubble in the 1990s and the housing bubble in the early years of this century. They were overheated investments that ultimately fell flat. In our careers, however, we’ve done exactly the opposite. Most of us have invested little or nothing in our careers, and the resulting vacuum is strangling our future. That sucking sound we hear is our future imploding.

The notion that we could have everything for nothing in ours career seems to have emerged with the rise of no-cost content on the Web. Consciously or otherwise, legions of us have come to the conclusion that we can find everything we need to manage our careers successfully among the free pages posted online. It was inevitable, therefore, that for the first time in modern history, the 2001 recession saw sales of career and job search books actually decline during an economic downturn.

This free lunch investment strategy is undoubtedly alluring, but alas, it’s also completely irrational. Think about it. As scary as it may be in today’s environment, most of us accept that investing is the only legitimate way to secure and improve our life. We invest to (hopefully) put money away for retirement. We invest in buying a house with the dream that it will become a home and, eventually, an asset we can leave to our kids. We even invest in gym memberships to improve our physical fitness and in health insurance just in case we need more intensive care.

We make all of those investments, but we act as skinflints when it comes to the one-third of our lives we spend in the workplace. Oh sure, we open our wallets when we first start out. Lots of us invest in getting an education, in college or a trade school, so we have a proper foundation in the world of work. And while our parents may help us in that endeavor, we recognize and accept the importance of doing so. But after that, we act as if the Bill of Rights guarantees us free job search assistance and career counseling and coaching. In fact, asking a person in transition to invest in his or her career is often viewed as a vile effort to take advantage of them.

And ironically, nothing could be further from the truth. Indeed, not asking us to invest in ourselves and our future is a startling denial of our own capacity to succeed. Setting us apart as some sort of protected class, while well meaning, inevitably has two perverse impacts:

” It creates a dependency that subliminally signals to each and every one of us that we don’t have what it takes to mend our own situation and take care of ourselves; and

” It forges a sense of false entitlement that actually handicaps us and prevents us from taking the necessary action to help ourselves.

Setting Us Up for Even Harder Times

Equally as important, when we’re told that we need not invest in ourselves in tough times, many of us conclude that the same is true in good times, as well. That perspective, more than any other, is probably what’s behind the deteriorating skills and knowledge we bring to work each day. We’re falling behind the rest of the world in research, productivity and value creation because the conventional wisdom is that it’s not our job to keep up. Whether we’re a Boomer, GenY or a Millennial, we’ve been taught that we bear no personal responsibility for staying at the state-of-the-art in our field or for acquiring the expertise to manage our own career.

The most telling evidence of this situation can be found at a local “job club.” Every meeting, these days, attracts hundreds of well educated, middle-aged professionals who have never before been unemployed. Now that they are, however, they lack the tools to get reemployed. They worked hard at their jobs, they were loyal to their employers, but neither of those attributes protected them from a pink slip and neither can put them back to work. The structure and dynamic of the workplace has changed, and they haven’t. They were misled by the free lunch crowd, so they haven’t invested in upgrading themselves or in directing their career path toward a secure employment situation. For them, the sucking sound is almost deafening.

But, it doesn’t have to stay that way. It is possible to turn our fortunes around. The solution is admittedly easy to offer and more difficult to implement. It has the merit, however, of being absolutely right for the times. The key to survival and prosperity in the 21st Century world of work is continuous self-investment.

If you’re in transition, go back to school in your field even as you look for a new opportunity. If you’re lucky enough to be employed, get some training that will add to your ability to contribute on-the-job. And regardless of your situation, make sure that you get smarter on how best to manage your own career. Such investments will never produce a bubble; they will, in contrast, quiet the deafening din by filling the vacuum with opportunity.

Thanks for reading,

Peter

Visit me at CareerFitness.com

P.S. Please tell your friends and colleagues about WEDDLE’s Newsletter. They’ll appreciate your thoughtfulness, and so will we.

A Special Notice for Career Counselors & Coaches

Are you looking for a unique and compelling way to differentiate your practice?

Would you like to be able to attract a broader array of clients?

Well, now there’s a way for you to accomplish both of those goals. How? With WEDDLE’s certification program in Career Fitness. Based on Peter Weddle’s new book, Work Strong: Your Personal Career Fitness System, it uses the metaphor of physical fitness to introduce both the principles of successful career self-management in the 21st Century and a one-of-a-kind regimen of daily, weekly and monthly activities to put those principles to work in individual careers. There’s no other system like it, and the Career Fitness Pro certification enables you to offer it to your clients.

For more information, email Peter Weddle at peter@weddles.com or call him at 203.964.1888. This program is open only to experienced career counselors and coaches.

Our Featured Books

The Best Guides to the Best Job Boards Period

Get these job search bestsellers today:

  • WEDDLE’s 2009/10 Guide to Employment Sites on the Internet. This Gold Standard of guides to the Web’s 100,000+ job boards and career portals has been completely updated so you can find the best sites for you and your career.

    This edition of the Guide, our 9th, introduces an entirely new format: The Top 100, our pick of the most effective job boards and career portals on the Web, and the Best & the Rest, a directory of over 10,000 sites organized by career field, industry and geographic focus. There’s no better way to know which way to go on the Web!

  • WEDDLE’s 2009/10 Guide to Association Web Sites. Employers often post their best jobs at the Web-sites of local, state, regional or national professional associations. This Guide enables you to determine which of those associations have the job search resources you need to connect with those employers.

    The Association Guide lists over 3,000 associations by the career field, industry or location in which they specialize and indicates whether they have a job database, a resume database and/or a discussion area for professional networking. It is the only book of its kind in print and the only way to find the “hidden job market” on the Web!

  • How can you get these amazing resources? Click here to reach our online bookstore or call 203.964.1888 to order your copies of these truly unique job search guides.

    And don’t forget to share. Get the Guides for your spouse or partner, your sons and daughters, even your working mother or father. These books will help them find their dream job, as well. So, don’t delay; get your WEDDLE’s Guides today!

    To Find the Right Job, Find the Real You First

    If you’re searching for more meaning in your career, if you want the time you spend on-the-job to be more fulfilling and rewarding for you, then read Peter Weddle’s new book Recognizing Richard Rabbit. It’s a gentle way to figure out your dreams.

    Recognizing Richard Rabbit is a fable for adults from 22 to 62 and older. In the genre of Who Moved My Cheese?, it opens the door to genuine self exploration. It is a story about finding the secret to authentic living. To being your own true self.

    How does Recognizing Richard Rabbit do that? Unlike traditional fables, this tale unfolds in two synchronized parts: one in fiction-the fable, the other in nonfiction-a parallel self-interview. In essence, you are invited to tap both the creative and the analytic sides of your brain-to probe the whole of your inherent talent-so you can find the pathway to the person you were meant to be.

    Why is that so important? Because whether you are a mid-career professional or a first time job seeker, whether you are a senior executive or a skilled tradesperson, whether you are actively looking for a job or just keeping your options open, the key to success is a sure understanding of who you are and what you stand for.

    So, make sure you know the authentic You. Get your copy of Recognizing Richard Rabbit today. All you have to do is call WEDDLE’s at 203.964.1888 or click here. Don’t delay. Get Recognizing Richard Rabbit right away.

    <>b>Your Own Personal GPS to the Best Job Boards for You

    WEDDLE’s publishes the perfect job search tool for hard times-an inexpensive, quick and easy-to-use series of guides to the best job boards and career portals online in specific career fields and employment situations. Think of them as the CliffsNotes to career success on the Internet.

    Called WEDDLE’s WIZNotes-Fast Facts on Job Boards, each book includes compact, but complete profiles of the key sites that specialize in a specific profession or level of employment. There are WIZNotes for:

  • Sales & Marketing professionals,
  • Finance & Accounting professionals,
  • Engineers,
  • Human Resource professionals,
  • Scientists
  • Women Professionals
  • Managers & Executives,
  • and

  • Recent Graduates.
  • Plus

  • Finding a Job on the Web
  • Writing a Great Resume
  • All you have to do is select the WIZNotes that’s right for you. Each volume has exactly the information you need to find the right job boards and career portals for you. And best of all, at $12.95 each, WEDDLE’s WIZNotes are a bargain to boot!

    So, get one for yourself and one for your spouse or partner, son or daughter, friend or colleague or boss. They’re helpful to any and everyone regardless of their years of experience.

    To order your WIZNotes, call WEDDLE’s at 203.964.1888 or click here. Order today!

    Our Featured Job Board

    Site Spotlite … from the pages of WEDDLE’s 2009/10 Guide to Employment Sites on the Internet.

    There are 50,000 job boards now in operation in North America and an equal number operating elsewhere around the world. The key to a successful online job search, therefore, is knowing where to find and how to select the best sites for your specific employment objective. WEDDLE’s 2009/10 Guide profiles The Top 100 employment sites on the Web today and provides The Best & the Rest, a listing of over 10,000 such sites worldwide. It’s all of the information you need to determine which job boards will deliver the best opportunities for you. For example:

    BioSpace

    http://www.biospace.com

    Post full time jobs: Yes

    Post part time, contract or consulting jobs: Yes-All

    Distribution of jobs: National-USA

    Number of jobs: 3,000

    Salary levels of jobs: $51-$75K, $76-100K/yr

    Offer a job agent: Yes

    Resume database: Yes

    How long are resumes stored: 180 days

    Restrictions on who can post: Those registered

    Other services for job seekers: Discussion forum, Career information, Links to other sites with career information

    Member, International Association of Employment Web Sites: Yes

    Career Counselors & Coaches

    Are you looking for a unique and compelling way to differentiate your practice?

    Would you like to be able to attract a broader array of clients?

    Well, now there’s a way for you to accomplish both of those goals. How? With WEDDLE’s certification program in Career Fitness. Based on Peter Weddle’s new book, Work Strong: Your Personal Career Fitness System, it uses the metaphor of physical fitness to introduce both the principles of successful career self-management in the 21st Century and a one-of-a-kind regimen of daily, weekly and monthly activities to put those principles to work in individual careers. There’s no other system like it, and the Career Fitness Pro certification enables you to offer it to your clients.

    For more information, email Peter Weddle at peter@weddles.com or call him at 203.964.1888. This program is open only to experienced career counselors and coaches.