Careers are not what they used to be. Lifetime employment and guaranteed jobs are gone. Planning your career along a linear career path - moving within an organisation from one position to the next until you reach retirement age - is a thing of the past.
Today, a more turbulent career context exists due to the global economy, the technological explosion and the information age. People can expect to have many jobs in multiple fields during their lifetime. Careers are less ordered and predictable, career development is more divergent and boundaryless and career ladders have been replaced by so-called career webs.
In the modern workplace, career success is also defined in different ways. Career success is not necessarily entwined with positional power and social standing. The modern workplace allows for individual differences, needs and preferences. For those valuing a work-life balance, technology has made it possible to employ varying career models such as working from home, flexible working hours and contract work opportunities.
No matter your age, position or interest, a fulfilling career in the 21st Century will require you to look further into the future and align your competencies with the requirements of tomorrow’s workplace. Your employment security no longer lies with any employer, but with your ability, willingness and commitment to lifelong learning and continued self-renewal.
Career development has therefore become an active process of self-directed learning, understanding your own values, talents and passions, exploring market options, pursuing learning opportunities and engaging in personal brand marketing.
The ability, willingness and commitment to negotiate constant change and continuously reinvent yourself for new situations will enable a fulfilling 21st Century Career.
Carin van Rensburg is an Industrial / Organisational Psychologist (IOP) with a special interest in equipping Young Adults, Individuals and Small to Medium businesses with 21st Century Competencies through Career Development Workshops and Coaching. www.21stcenturycareers.co.za