One thing that seems certain today and into the foreseeable future is that you’re going to be changing jobs more often than generations past. This has emerged and continues to do so because both employers and workers have realized the value in change. Younger workers are tending to want the experience of moving from one organization to another with a higher degree of mobility even from city to city, and employers are more comfortable introducing new people into their workforces, realizing the benefits of hiring people on a frequent basis with the latest skills and industry-leading training.
To stay relevant and continually place yourself to take advantage of opportunities as they arise, smart people hold common attributes and skills that take them from job to job, thus keeping themselves attractive to those doing the hiring. What are these you ask? Here’s a few:
Embrace Change: Nothing it is said, is as constant as change. Change is inevitable and those who realize this and welcome change adapt better than those who fight change and embrace things as they are. New technologies, relocating businesses, new business models, virtual workers, etc. Getting onboard with change quickly makes you adaptable, vital, and thus attractive.
Stay Positive: It seems like such a given doesn’t it? So obvious that it doesn’t need saying, yet it does. A positive workplace is a productive workplace, and productivity and profitability go hand in hand. If you want to do well and stay valued, develop a visible, positive attitude. Encourage others around you, smile, see the upside and carry that, ‘yes we can’ attitude. Consciously go about surrounding yourself with others who also work with the same attitude and you’ll not only be more productive, you’ll be happier too.
Self-Invested: Fading quickly are the days when employers looked out for their employees with respect to carrying benefit packages. With more people working part-time or moving from contract to contract, you need to get your own benefit package including retirement although that might seem too far into the future to worry about now. Investing in your own future and safeguarding yourself from injuries and illness with drug, dental and optical plans is a necessity. Start with your Chamber of Commerce or an Insurance Broker and shop around.
Self-Defined: Almost everyone in years past defined themselves in part by the employers they worked for. When asked what they do for a living, the answer most gave included naming an employer. Now more and more, the answer is what service a person provides, not for whom they provide it. That subtle and small shift illuminates a new way of thinking. People see themselves not as representatives of companies but as providers of service. “I’m an Electrician, a Customer Service Rep, I’m a Financial Portfolio Manager”, and not, “I work for (name a company).
Adaptable: This is it in a nutshell. Moving on quickly from job to job, contract to contract, temporary position to contract to contract again. Learning to adapt to changes in shifts, hours, jobs and locations is a big key to being successful. The more you can adapt to the circumstances around you, the less stress you’ll feel and like embracing change noted above, the quicker you’ll move from what was to what is coming. In the end, your mental health will be enhanced.
Developed Interpersonal Skills: As your reality is to move from job to job, from organization to organization and from city to city perhaps, you’ll be expanding the number of people you know. Whether online or in-person, you’re going to get to work with and know more people than your parents generation ever did. It stands to reason that you’d best get on well with those you meet, grow a level of comfort introducing yourself and working cooperatively with many and not expecting long-lasting working relationships that span 35 years or more.
Self-Preservation: It’s not you against the world, so don’t carry that belief; the world doesn’t owe you a living. There’s not likely to be a gold watch when you retire and a large company investment retirement plan for you to count on. Be prudent and take responsibility for your own circumstances. Rather than counting on others to save you when you falter, be ready to pick yourself up and be accountable for your own success. Beware bitterness; it’s highly unattractive.
Diversify: Learn new things and pick up skills outside your immediate job; a few here and there. Yes maybe some night class at a College, maybe a second language. Learn some basic accounting, ask a co-worker to show you something they do exceptionally well that isn’t part of your own existing skill set. As you may be reinventing yourself several times in your lifetime, having a diverse set of skills and past experiences will serve you better than you might now realize.
So how do you stand up? This isn’t an exhaustive list but if you’ve got the above, you’re on the way to positioning yourself well for whatever comes. That after all is what being prepared is all about; putting things in place now so that when things arise in the future, you’re better able to cope quickly and move with relatively less stress than others and respond positively. Yes, your future self might be thankful your current you took heed way back in 2017!