Part 1 of 2
Today’s economy is marked by fear in the workplace. People are now vividly, painfully aware of the truth that job security really is a thing of the past. In response, many have replaced their goal of job security with the idea of employment security.
This concept states that if you focus on being a valuable person and employee, with skills that are of value to an employer, you may not be guaranteed to keep your current job, but you will most certainly be able to get another one. To a large extent this will probably hold up in many situations. However it still assumes an employer – employee relationship.
The old relationship between the employer and the employee will probably be around for a long time, but it won’t be as commonplace as it is today. People who used to work in a single department in a single function for most of their professional lives are now getting used to working more on a project by project basis. In most situations they are still on the same company’s payroll, but this is already changing.
Many employers outsource some of the work that was traditionally performed by employees to freelancers and small businesses. The disadvantages of having people on the payroll are starting to weigh in on their hiring decisions. With today’s high-speed of technological change the necessary expertise to perform certain functions can literally change from year to year.
In some areas it’s even more extreme. In many cases it’s simply easier and cheaper to hire different people on a limited time basis, instead of continuously having one employee trying to keep up with all the different tricks of the trade.
This trend has far-reaching consequences for today’s workforce. Even the more experienced employees will have to stay sharp. They can’t sit on their laurels anymore because they will have to repeatedly prove their worth in new situations, now more than ever.
Many people consider this a huge threat to their careers, and in all honesty, they probably should. Then again, more and more people seem to be adapting to this phenomenon by looking at the opportunities that the economic crisis opened up and are starting their own part-time businesses. Many do this while still working on their day job, either full- or part-time.
Scott Adams, author of the famous Dilbert comic, identifies this trend in his book “The Dilbert Future”. He claims this trend will become more prevalent in the years to come. Many of these newborn entrepreneurs start businesses that perform a function that was formerly performed by an employee. Sometimes people even come back to their original employer who has now become their customer.
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