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Jobs, They'll Never Be the Same!
by Caela Farren, Ph.D., MasteryWorks, Inc.

“Take a job and you’ll work for a day! Master a profession or trade and you’ll work for a lifetime” —Caela Farren, Ph.D

If you don't re-create, learn and innovate, then someone else will find a way to do your job better, faster and cheaper.The Changing World of Work
The landscape of work is changing. We live in a world of mind work where thinkers, communicators, and innovators rule. Machines, robots and microchips are replacing human capital, job by job, worker by worker. Phrases like – “get a job, find a job, take a job” – are becoming obsolete in our complex global economy. You had better start thinking about creating a job, reinventing your job, or replacing your job. No longer will people give you jobs. It’s up to you to reinvent yourself to create and re-create your own job – based on your talent and the needs of others. If you don’t re-create, learn and innovate, then someone else will find a way to do your job better, faster and cheaper.

Today, individuals need mental maps to help them navigate wise pathways and feel in charge of their own careers – their own life journeys. Work is organic. Any way that you can streamline, integrate and innovate your services will make you a more valuable human asset. If this isn’t constantly on your mind, you can be sure it’s on someone else’s in every country with access to communications and social networking tools.

The Coming War for Jobs
Columnist and best-selling author, Thomas L. Friedman, points out globalization and internet technology have produced “dramatic changes in the workplace, coming in rapid-fire succession, leaving a lot of people feeling up in the air and asking, “Where do I fit in? How do I stay relevant in my job? And what kind of skills do I need to learn?” [1]

In his new book, “The Coming Jobs War,” Jim Clifton, Chairman of Gallup, writes that since “2008, the war for good jobs has trumped all other leadership activities because it’s been the cause and the effect of everything else that countries have experienced.” Clifton predicts if we fail to create “good” jobs, the nation will be unable to meet its social and monetary obligations. He writes that “the need for love, money, food shelter, safety, peace and freedom has been turned up-side down by the need for good jobs.” [2] We would propose that these very needs are the engine and foundation of all work, what’s changing so rapidly is how and who addresses these needs. The form of response (jobs, projects, professions, organizations and industries) continue to re-organize.

How Secure is Your Career, Job?
Some jobs are more secure than others. Review the questions below to study twelve leading indicators of great jobs. The more affirmative answers, the more stable and secure your job. Remember these factors need to remain constant or your job will be at risk. If you DON’T have a job, use the statements below to help you choose a great job.[3]

How Secure is Your Career, Job? YES NO
1. Is your job critical to your organization’s ability to fulfill its purpose?    
2. Does your job require on-going learning and increasing levels of mastery?    
3. Does your job provide services directly to customers, in the direct line of sight?    
4. Does your job produce revenue or contributes tangible value to the organization?    
5. Does your job fit your personal interests and passion?    
6. Does your job give you contacts and visibility in other parts of the organization?    
7. Is your job non-routine, relatively impossible to automate?    
8. Are you embedded in a project or team that strives to be the best in the world?    
9. Does your job engage your mind and heart, challenging you and providing opportunities for creativity and problem solving?    
10. Is your work meaningful – aligns with your values and aspirations and makes a difference for others?    
11. Do you report to a remarkable manager or supervisor who cares about your development?    
12. Is your job in a growing industry that serves an important basic human need?    

If you have more than 3-4 questions with NO for an answer, it might be time for you to either redesign your job or start looking for another that would shift your answer to YES.

Innovation and Entrepreneurial Skills
Predictions seem widespread that the balance of economic power in the world is certain to change. Economists predict China will dominate the world economy. It will be the Chinese who make the decisions on the subjects of peace, war, environment, global warming, oil prices, borders, laws, and human rights, etc. Of course, these same economists were wrong in the fifties when they predicted America would be overwhelmed by fast growing economies of Japan and Germany. They were wrong 40 years ago because they couldn’t see innovation and entrepreneurship of thousands of small, medium and big businesses all around the country creating a historic run of job growth and prosperity.

Take a second and think about 5-6 jobs that didn’t’ exist a year or two ago. Take another moment and think about 5-6 jobs that probably will disappear in a short time. Many went overseas where work can be done cheaper by talented people. Others were simply automated, innovated or eliminated. Wherever they went, you can be sure they aren’t returning.

Jobs don’t disappear so long as there is need and innovation and the work cannot be automated. However, they can move out of this country to keep costs down. Products and services thrive when innovation improves human life and advances human development. However, innovation has little to no value until it joins with entrepreneurship. The model is to create a corps of entrepreneurs who will invent and innovate products and services that customers need. Scott Cook, the founder and director of Intuit, claims “Innovation happens at the junction between business and customer needs, not from executive ideas or lonely geniuses within the company. Indeed, innovation bottlenecks are often at the top. Creating a culture of innovation is about nurturing customer observation, incubating new ideas, reading the trends, celebrating failure, and staying out of the way.”

Choosing a Profession
Instead of looking for a good job, master a profession that is needed in this economy. A good job will take you from one day to the next; the right profession or trade can take you through life. How do you go about choosing the right profession? Look for something you love, something you’re passionate about, something people want, need and demand. Analyze the characteristics of the most-admired organizations. What do the fastest growing, most resilient industries have in common? What professions and trades will be required given the trends in these industries? Which were the riskiest jobs? Why? What are the characteristics of workers who rebound, no matter what happened to their job, profession, organization or industry? Are your interests and passion a good fit with growing sectors of the most admired organizations and industries? If so, you would be wise to choose or continue in that career path.

Re-evaluate your career by assessing your profession or trade. Are you a macro-economist, oil geologist, accountant, web developer, biological engineer, or dress designer? What is your profession? How critical is it for the organization you’re currently working in? Choosing a profession or trade is the most important career decision you will make. Experience tells us that even in an organization of over 350,000 workers, there are only 12-15 core professions. The largest volunteer organization in the world, The American Red Cross, had a little over three million paid and volunteer staff when MasteryWorks consulted for them. However, there were only twenty-six distinct professions and trades. Individuals and their managers can design functional and multi-functional career paths, once an organizational map is drawn of those professions or trades core to the mission.

Time and again, excellence in the professions and the trades is fundamental and has proven enduring. Specialists, who follow professionally centered career paths, define their career success in terms of growth, learning, and development in one profession or trade. In the early years, they typically intern and apprentice. They seek mentors and coaches for feedback and fellowship. Their loyalty is to learning and increasing the depth and breadth of their mastery. They raise the bar and they are the innovators and the problem solvers. If they have chosen professions or trades in the most resilient industries with organizations trending upward in a growth sector, their career path will be more secure.

The Web of Work
A web is a useful metaphor for the system of work because it evokes intricacy, complexity, interconnectivity and strength. Our research shows us that some sectors of the Web of Work are more fundamental and enduring than others – especially in the professions and trades. When organizations and individuals see the trends in their professions and the needs of customers, individuals and organizations become more innovative which spurs strong progress. In fact, innovation is a product of trend watching and listening to customer needs.

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Using our Web of Work map, individuals can move easily from one work situation to another, carrying skills and applying them in new situations – industries, organizations, professions or new positions. As seen in our Web of Work model, work is an interdependent system. Movement and activity in any part of the Web of Work will be felt throughout the rest of the work system. The spider is ever-vigilant to see that its web is strong, well-positioned in the environment, and can be repaired or adapted quickly if conditions change. When individuals see the whole system of work, they are better able to anticipate changes and make strategic moves (change industries, organizations, jobs, etc.) in order to maintain control of their careers and put themselves in personally powerful positions.

Assess the Vitality of Your Work Environment
The CAREERRISK™ Assessment – Leading Career Indicators® – displays forty factors associates and talent management teams can use to assess the vitality of any sector of the World of Work. People who have used this tool view work as an interconnected system where one part has implications to others. For example, changes in computer technology have impacted the jobs of brokers, bookkeepers, bank tellers, and macro-economic theorists. [3] The twelve basic needs drive the way we reorganize work into professions, organizations, industries and jobs. Professions are the most stable element of the world of work because they are most closely linked to taking care of one or more of the basic needs.

Answer the questions below honestly. The more affirmative answers you have, the more vital your current work environment is for you.

The Vitality of Your Work Environment YES NO
Has your organization clearly delineated the key professions or trades required to achieve the organization mission and strategic initiatives? Are these visible to all?    
Does your organization have forums, newsletters, town meetings, websites, and communications that keep all associates abreast of the major changes in the Industry, so they can see the relevance of their profession and job?    
Does your organization make it easy for associates to choose alternative career paths by making paths visible and providing comparable compensation?    
Can associates stay with their profession (functional specialty), increase their salary and value to the company and not need to move into management?    
Does your organization have a strong bias towards retaining, rewarding, and showcasing those associates who are clearly experts in their fields and on a mastery path?    
Does your organization consciously and consistently reward innovative ideas, create incubators for experimentation and employ the “best” in the core professions required for its mission?    

If you can answer YES to each of these questions, you will be empowered to design a career that brings respect, dignity, and a strong financial future.

Globalization and internet technology have had a tectonic effect on jobs and careers. Today, individuals need mental maps to help them navigate wise pathways and feel in charge of their own careers. Jobs don’t disappear so long as there is need and innovation. Products and services thrive when innovation improves human life and advances human development. Start or continue on a career path by developing mastery in a profession or trade. Learn how to choose the best career path by asking yourself a few important questions about industries and organizations. Look for a profession or trade you love, something you’re passionate about, something people want, need and demand. If you’re working, consider answering the twelve questions to check out your job security and design a career that brings you and your organization respect, dignity, and strong financial futures.

1. “That Used To Be Us, How America Fell Behind in the World It Invented and How We Can Come Back,” Thomas L. Friedman and Michael Mandelbaum, Farrar Straus and Giroux, 2011, p. 72.
2. “The Coming Jobs War,” Jim Clifton, Chairman of Gallup, Gallup Press, 2011, pp 225. 3. See “CAREERRISK™ Assessment - Leading Career Indicators®,” Version 4.1, ©2002-2011, MasteryWorks, Inc.

About the Author
Caela Farren, Ph. D.
, is President of MasteryWorks, Inc., - a leading Career Development consulting organization offering innovative solutions to large and mid-size companies, including Sony, Northrop Grumman, Bayer, Lockheed-Martin and Capitol One. MasteryWorks provides enterprise web portals, training, consulting, and an assessment framework for employees and managers. For more than thirty years, Dr. Farren has been a passionate leader around complex issues redefining the workplace. She envisioned the current workplace climate more than a dozen years ago, when she published a cornerstone compendium on career selection, “Who is Running Your Career: Creating Stable Work in Unstable Times” (Bard Press, 1997). Through MasteryWorks, Inc., she oversees solutions that create the foundation for impact-filled “career conversations” - centered on increased contribution, performance, and fit. Her strategic approach consistently delivers on employee engagement and retention goals for her clients. Contact Tom Karl, Executive Vice President for more information - or (703) 256-5712.

MasteryWorks, Inc.
2230 George C Marshall Drive, Suite 122 Falls Church, Virginia 22043 USA 800-229-5712