In the work environment of the 60's, 70's and 80's, the focus was on finding
employment and remaining employed. In the new work environment of the 90's (and
the decades ahead), the focus is on ensuring employability by gaining
experience and developing a skillset. Reward systems based on the promise of
continued employment and movement up the 'organizational ladder' must be
replaced by systems that promise fair compensation, the opportunity to develop
and improve career skills, and an enhancement of the individual's
marketability. That is, rather than reward workers with company-specific skills
and titles that will improve the workers' long-term tenure within the
boundaries of the organization, companies reward good workers by providing them
with the career assets that will help them maintain and improve their
employability with all companies (i.e., clients).
The workplace has become a boundaryless environment. Rather than defining the
workplace within the boundaries of a particular organization, workers should
now consider the entire global marketplace as the workplace. Careers are no
longer tied to one or two specific companies over the course of one's lifetime.
Even those workers who remain at a company for the long-term (e.g., 10 or 15
years), do so with the mindset of independent vendors who are dependent on
themselves, not on any company or organization, for career growth and continued
As always, the individual must build a reputation as a competent worker who can
be relied on to provide quality labor and services. The difference, today, is
that, rather than building that reputation within a specific organization, the
worker builds his reputation within an industry or profession. "He'll go far in
this company" is replaced by "he'll go far in this industry."
By ensuring one's employability via skill building, education, financial
planning, and self-marketing, the individual provides himself with the career
insurance that used to come from the right choice of employer. In the
environment of The One Day Contract, running your career (and, indeed, your
life) as a business ( thinking like an entrepreneur, not like an employee )
provides the only 'unemployment insurance' you need.
This is, indeed, a radical departure from the way things have been for a long,
long time. It goes against much of what we were taught when we were young. It
goes against what our parents experienced and believed. It may make you feel
uncomfortable... and it has happened in an almost stealth manner, quietly and
in the background, but also so quickly that you probably didn't see it coming.
This is the nature of any paradigm shift. Everything you were taught has
changed and now you must rethink your premises and rethink your plans. But the
change has happened. Those who adapt now will have a great advantage over those
who wait until later to change and especially over those who never change.