While talent is a universal attribute, it is not universally used. There are some who ignore their talent because they don’t believe it can support a standard of living that is acceptable to them, and there are others who abuse their talent by refusing to nurture and develop it to its fullest potential. What separates the career activist from others, therefore, is their decision to express and experience their talent in the one-third of their life they spend at work.
That commitment, in turn, is the reason the community of career activists is a republic. Such an assembly is generally defined to have two key attributes. A republic is:
• A state in which the supreme power rests not with a monarch, but in its citizens;
• A body of persons freely engaged in a specific activity.
Hence, the Career Activist Republic is composed of men and women who:
Reject the supreme power traditionally accorded to employers in the American workplace.
The American legal system may have historically empowered employers to act as monarchs—“at will employment” gave them the authority to hire and fire workers whenever it suited them—but today’s market reality—with its perceived shortage of excellence in the workforce—enables talented workers to act as the equal of any organization that hires them.
Career activists do not recognize or accept the superiority of employers and demand, instead, that they and those they represent—the persons of talent of the United States—be accorded their full rights of citizenship in the workplace as well as in their community and government.
Accept personal responsibility for the direction and care of their own careers.
The American economy may have historically forced workers to rely on their employers for the management of their careers—the career ladder gave them no choice in either the extent or pace of their progress—but today’s global marketplace—with its unpredictable and turbulent business conditions—liberates workers to act as the masters of their own destiny in the workplace.
Career activists do not want or need any organization or organizational representatives—be they their boss or the HR Department—to shape their future and believe, instead, that it is both their obligation and their uniquely American right to define and achieve their own Dream.
Commit themselves to the fullest possible development and use of their talent.
The American culture may have historically excluded its workers from any claim to talent—the nation’s incessant lionization of sports and entertainment figures all but drowns out the achievements of others—but today’s War for Talent—with its utter desperation for talent among America’s employers—resets workers’ self- respect and encourages them to nurture the capability with which they have all been endowed.
Career activists recognize that their claim to full citizenship in the workplace depends upon their unflagging commitment to becoming and then performing as a person of talent and, through that expression of their special gift, to contributing as best they are able to their employer’s mission.
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.