Personal Branding – Why Is It Important – Part 1
Whether we like it or not, we are in charge of our careers. Gone are the days where you could begin and end your career with the same company, working yourself up from the mail room to Sr. Vice President. Starting with the Baby Boomer generation and followed closely, with more intensity, by GenX, we have seen an intensification of the nomadic lifestyle and increased job-hopping. And, when this is compounded with a recession, we see job tenure shrinking even more due to downsizing. Never has this been more prevalent than in my generational grouping, with a 54% increase in unemployment for those over the age of 55, as reported at the end of 2009. This has been a blow to many of us, never expecting we might have to be thinking about looking for another job after a 30 year career with the same company. We expected to stay until we were ready to retire, instead of being asked to retire.
Job Loss and Job Security
In a study done by Henry S. Farber, Princeton University, in September, 2007, he found that while the overall rate of job loss has not increased, higher tenure workers have become more susceptible to job loss. In addition, he expressed concern that employment structures are changing from long-term full-time employment to short-term, project based hiring. And, as we’ve all noted with the amount of outsourcing taking place, employers are relying more on temporary workers, sub-contractors and part-time workers.
ExecuNet reported in 2005 that corporate leaders are changing companies every 3.6 years. During my corporate years, executives were rotated every 3 years – either within the company, or they left the company – beginning in mid-1990’s. It was highly unusual for anyone at a vice presidential level or above to maintain their position for longer than that. They were either promotable, asked to round out their experience through a lateral move, or they were asked to leave.
Now that you have a better understanding of the job marketplace, what other factors are impacting your career?
For many of us, that may mean we are working from home, or from an office hundreds of miles from our colleagues and managers. We are linked via mobile telephone, Wi-Fi, and increasingly through Social Media. This type of freedom is wonderful, as we can often set our own hours, working around our families. But, it also means we are working around the clock, and that every e-mail, memo and telephone call must count. Your value is expressed in how well you communicate technologically, rather than in person, your organizational and time-management skills, your ability to work with increasingly diverse teammates, and your creativity. Because we are constantly on, it becomes more important to find meaning and fulfillment in what we do, aligning our work with our values, passions and life priorities.
U. S. companies are increasingly becoming globalized by outsourcing jobs, expanding internationally, and attending to new business and products. They are moving heavily into technology, building systems to increase the fluidity of their processing – often without human intervention. They are working hard to meet the old adage “Work smarter, not harder.” The lesson to be learned in this scenario is the more you welcome and support change enables you to take advantage of the benefits that come about with each change.
Managing Your Own Career
With the ability to move easily from job to job, without forfeiture of pensions and other benefits, we are seeing more and more professionals cycling between self-employment and working for corporations. With this comes the need to create individualized marketing plans as you prepare for your next career move. In addition, we see less and less mentorship and human resource driven training and development within major organizations. Employees can no longer rely on their employers to help them with their career planning.
Here’s my take – whether you are 28 -49 (GenX) or 50 – 63 (Boomers), you need to be prepared to change jobs, career shift, go into business for yourself, or “retire” at any point in time. As the number of creative, well paying full-time positions shrink, and companies control costs by hiring contractors and part-time workers on a project by project basis, we as a work force need to be taking steps to stay current, and growing personally, in any number of areas. We cannot afford to rely upon our companies to assume the patriarchical role they have in the past, taking care of their employees from the time they are hired until they are ready to retire. We cannot afford to assume they will do anything beyond three to five years, unless we are actively showcasing our value to the company. Each of us needs to learn how to live with the constant change, market ourselves, and our personal brand – who we are – needs to be powerful enough to shine without being seen in face to face situations.
The key to starting this journey is in discovering who you are and knowing that it is okay to be you. You may then choose to begin to actively and intentionally pursue life based on interests you are passionate about, working from your strengths, gifts, abilities and most importantly, your purpose. Your work will become meaningful, and you will be able to fluidly move with the changes we are bound to see over the coming years, whether you stay in your current position or move elsewhere.
You can live a life of purpose and passion.
Georgia Feiste, owner of Collaborative Transitions, located in Lincoln, NE, is a life transitions coach, writer, and workshop facilitator. She specializes in business, career and personal life transitions. Coming from a 30 year background in a C-level corporate position, she is uniquely skilled in providing support and encouragement as her clients set intentional goals to attain their desires, holding open the space they need to stretch and grow. Her passion is success grounded in purpose and passion, standards of integrity and priorities in life. Her website is http://www.collaborativetransitions.com, where she blogs about business and career, and http://www.rainbowbridgecoach, where she and many other coaches blog about mind, body, spirit and emotion. Georgia can be reached at (402) 484-8098.