The new world of work

We are all part of a new and fast-changing world. How can we keep up with change, make the best of our talent and reach high? Career coach Lynda Aurora advises and guides you on these pages every second week

The new world of work presents us all with unprecedented challenges. These challenges bring lots of questions. For example, how can I best manage and survive in this new world? Will my skills be marketable? How long will my new MBA be marketable, before it is redundant and outdated?

Should I change careers? What should I do to prevent being unemployed?

How do I continue to be competitive when so many people are unemployed in my profession? How can I avoid being made redundant? How long will my working life be? Will it be enough to provide for my retirement?

These questions add a new uncertainty to our working life that our parents?generation did not experience. Undoubtedly, they had different challenges.

In terms of designing a career today, we need to understand the underlying assumptions that are invalidating our career plans and making them obsolete.

Technology, globalisation, increased business competition, mergers and acquisitions have been the main drivers of change. The impact of these changes has seen the disappearance of whole job categories.

Companies are challenged to meet stakeholders' expectations, while struggling to be ahead of the competition which comes from all directions and while operating in an unstable economic environment.

Companies are constantly restructuring and reorganising along geographical lines, then product lines, and people are confused as their reporting lines are changed to matrix reporting, with bosses sometimes located in different time zones. These new initiatives never seem to settle before there is another change. Many companies have reduced their headcount and employees realise that loyalty is no longer valued.

The impact on our lives is that everything is done faster, people disregard time zones and personal time has been severely impacted. Many feel that they are owned by their clients, employers or business partners.

I recently met a human resources professional who felt constantly stressed because of the need to be seen to be adding real value to the organisation every day.

The new world of work is becoming more challenging, with the need to deliver more for less, to be at the leading edge of your profession, to ensure that your skills and knowledge are constantly updated, to be multi-skilled and multilingual, to know that restructuring - whether by takeover, merger or reorganisation - is here to stay, that no one's job is guaranteed and that a job for life is part of work history.

The first step is to put yourself in the driving seat of your career.

You are the managing director of You Inc. Most people have delegated this responsibility to the human resources department or chance. Many people take an opportunistic approach to their career management and change jobs when a more interesting or challenging position becomes available.

So what is it going to take to "make it"? In the following columns, we will explore strategies for people to keep themselves employable. Employability is the key to the employment game.

Lynda Aurora FCCA ACA CPA MBA MA-HRM PCC is a career coach partnering with people who want to reassess their career options, get strategies to improve their work performance and employability or are in career transition. She is Asia's first and only Professional Certified Coach Member of the International Coach Federation.
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Taken from Career Times 29 August 2003
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