Changing with the Times:
Adapting to a Rapidly Changing Environment

by Greg Faherty, CPRW
Let's face it, the times they are a-changing. The employment "ecosystem" is in a state of flux, with companies closing or moving, entire job sectors disappearing, and salaries dropping in many career areas.

But it's not all gloom and doom, especially if you have a job that's going to be important for the next couple of decades. Or, if you are one of the visionary people who's ready to adapt to the changes and develop a more effective job search strategy.

The reason for this? As the employment climate changes, it brings about new opportunities, opportunities just beginning to rise up from the ashes of "traditional" employment. Some of these new opportunities involve cutting edge technologies or entirely new job sectors, such as "green" operations and global work teams. Others involve no longer limiting oneself to a traditional job description. In all cases, for anyone with a strong work ethic and a bit of entrepreneurial spirit, the next ten to twenty years will see as many doors opening as there are closing.

The Changing Workplace.  Technology is advancing so rapidly that major changes occur every two years. Changes in computers, manufacturing, communications, even transportation. A lot of these technology changes result in job losses due to automation of processes. Job losses on the line mean fewer management jobs. Other jobs get outsourced. But at the same time, new technologies offer new positions in research, parts design and manufacturing, and quality control.

Jobs Aren't Coming Back.  It's a sad truth that no matter how many new jobs get created over the next two decades, it won't be enough to make up for the millions of jobs that disappear—in the traditional sense. Job seekers are going to need to be creative in order to find work that will enable them to maintain a certain level of financial security.

Solutions:  Be ready to change with the times. This might mean shifting to a new career path, or learning a new skills. It might mean holding two part-time jobs instead of one full-time position. For some, it will mean leaving standard employment behind and becoming an entrepreneur or consultant. You will see more inventors, small business owners, and independent workers. People will find value in having multiple streams of income, whether they are from clients or jobs or a combination of both. Most importantly, it will mean planning ahead, reducing spending, and focusing on profit rather than income.

Meeting the Future Head On

  • Be open to alternatives. It's possible that a career shift or new job might be the best thing to do. Don't stay unemployed just because there's no work in your old job sector.
  • Get help. Meet with a career coach or counselor. Take tests to determine where else your skills might be valuable. Investigate new opportunities.
  • Start a business, even if you have a job already. This doesn't mean you have to purchase a franchise. Find something you enjoy and see if you can make money at it, whether it be baking or computer repair. You never know what might lead to a new career.
  • Become valuable at your job. Learn new skills, take on new responsibilities. Be the first to arrive and the last to leave. Make it hard for management to succeed without you.