Master Career Counselor

Carla Hunter, President of Career Span, Inc. is a Master Career Counselor (MCC) by the National Career Development Association and a Certified Career Coach by the National Board for Certified Counselors. She is an expert in writing resumes, effective job search strategies and interviewing success. Most recently, with over 20 years of navigating the complexity of today's world of work, she published "Finding Your Place in the World of Work", a career interest inventory (2014) and CareerView, an iPad app. As a private practice career counselor and a workforce development consultant, this blog is Carla's trove of ideas, trends, forecasts, and career tips for finding meaningful work.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Heritage or contemporary: which employee are you?

I think it's safe to say no one is safe in a job. 

The unemployment numbers are high and it will take a minimum of three to five years for a return of early 2008 employment levels.  Even with the economic metamorphosis taking place, the job market's cocoon is a force to be reckoned with as it awakens everyone to the tenuous reality that job security is dead. 

However, there are several strategies you can incorporate that may increase your likelihood of remaining employed.  These strategies may also assist you if you were to lose a job through no fault of your own.  As I share these strategies in the weeks ahead, start by answering this simple question:

What type of employee am I?

There are two basic camps of thought to this question.  Let's take a look at both and see which one you identify with most.

THE HERITAGE EMPLOYEE: The stalwart, loyal and devoted worker

The heritage employee went to the school of hard knocks that open its doors post depression era.  The curriculum was based on the following tenets:

1. Loyalty to an employer is the primary focus of one's career.
2. While employed, looking at other career opportunities is equivalent to adultery.
3. Considering a career change is nothing short of crazy behavior.
4. Typical mindset: so what if work is miserable?  Its just a job.
5. It's all about building a retirement fund to enjoy life AFTER work is finished. 

Typical activities heritage employees strongly dislike:
  • Anything to do with technology
  • Working in a team that collaborates and debates
  • Conflict resolution (nothing short of the plague)
  • Setting goals and rewards that are performance based
  • Seeing skills as a work in progress
Heritage employees work best in government agencies, thick bureaucracies (where they get lost), most but not all scholastic institutions (although they do encourage technology) and in an ancient company no one can figure out why it still exists.

Does anything you read resonate with you?   Keep reading for the second camp of thought.

THE CONTEMPORARY EMPLOYEE: The adaptable, flexible and transparent worker

The contemporary employee is perpetually enrolled in the school of constant learning that opened its doors post technology era. The curriculum is based and updated on the following tenets:

1.  Productive satisfaction and personal accomplishment is the primary motivator of career success.
2. Professional development is central to a continuous learning mindset that adapts to a changing workplace and customer.
3. Looking for and openness to other opportunities is a mandate for progress and sanity.
4. Dedication to enhacing, developing and branding a professional identity that focuses on meaningful outcomes in work is central to satisfaction.
5. Living a flexible life in the moment placing family and community at the top and living life outside the company walls is imperative.

Typical work activities contemporary employees strongly dislike:
  • Anything to do with office gossip and politics
  • Working in a silo disconnected to the company mission
  • Clocking in the hours rather than being evaluated upon end results or deliverables
  • Having a boss that is threatened by new ideas and solutions
Contemporary employees work best in start up firms, owning a business and beginning an entreprenurial endeavor.  Any company that promotes a culture of diversity and openness is a match.

Are you a heritage employee that needs to adapt to your new contemporary environment?
Are you a match to your current company culture?

Heritage employees are becoming the dinosaurs of today's workplace.

The job market today and tomorrow will demand a contemporary employee that appreciates, adapts and is open to change in the workplace.  After all, isn't change the most consistent factor in life?

More than likely you are striving to become contemporary or you wouldn't be reading this blog.

Let's discuss in the next post, a strategy that most contemporary employers believe is non-negotiable.

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