It Doesn’t Have to be Forever
We all know that employers have little, if any, loyalty to employees these days. Layoffs, reorganizations and buyouts in recent years have taught us that our jobs are continually vulnerable and (unless one has a secure contract or tenure) we can be replaced at any time, for almost any reason. Yet when hunting for jobs, we often act as though this decision is one we are making for the long term — and that a misstep could spell disaster and land us in a lousy situation that we’ll be living with for a very long time.
What if, instead, we made career choices based on the hard, cold facts — that most jobs, these days, last for an average of four years, and so only represent a small slice of one’s career. Wouldn’t that take some of the pressure off a job hunt? Also, because it has become commonplace to jump around in one’s career, even short-term stints don’t have the stigma they used to — so if it doesn’t work out, you won’t be penalized like you used to be, especially if you find something else relatively quickly. That opens up possibilities and allows one to take some risks.
While I’m certainly not advocating that one should adopt a cavalier attitude toward accepting a job, it’s also true that evidence indicates that our careers will be made up of many shorter-term positions with a number of employers. And rather than fighting that, what if we embraced it and took advantage of this reality?
Here are some ways that accepting the concept of “it doesn’t have to be forever” can help in managing your career:
*This frees you to look at what you can get out of a job. Often, we’re so busy pitching our skills and trying to impress employers, that we forget to be a buyer as well as a seller. If you figure that you likely won’t be in a position more than a few years, you can look honestly at what you can take from it in terms of experience, skills development and contacts, rather than worrying so much about what your long-term prospects will be there. Also, there are times it makes sense to seek a job specifically for the kinds of skills it’ll bring — say, taking a stint with a non-profit organization to learn about grants or going to a Hill office for a few years to figure out how Congress really works. Being deliberate about this can aid your career.
*This allows you to take jobs that make sense at that point in your life. If you figure that this isn’t forever, then you’re much more apt to look at how a position fits into your current lifestyle — and this will obviously change as your circumstances change. For instance, a less demanding job with flexible hours and which allows you to work from home to some degree often makes sense for parents with young children. Years later, when the kids are off to college, a higher-pressure job with long hours and travel demands but high pay may make a lot of sense. When examining the pros and cons of a position, you don’t have to figure out what your life will be like years down the road — you really can determine whether it makes sense based on your circumstances and needs right now, and that you’ll adjust accordingly (in terms of your career) as things change in your life.
*This removes some pressure. Part of what makes a job hunt so stressful is the sense that if you make a mistake, it can cost you big time and for a long time. But if you accept the reality that you don’t have to stay at a workplace for terribly long if you aren’t happy there or can keep at it for a few years until things get better in your industry, for example, then you’ve removed some of the pressure from your search. And by doing that, you’re more likely to feel more confident and open to various possibilities — which can only make you a better candidate to prospective employers.
*A piece from the New York Times (and nytimes.org) provides some good advice — which I’ve given here in the past — for those who have been searching for a long while: Find a temporary job, either within or outside your field, to tide you over…You never know where it may lead, and getting back to any kind of work may help change your luck:
*Check out this batch of leads to end the work week:
*The Regulatory Affairs Professional Society (RAPS) has an opening in Rockville for a managing editor for its magazine, Regulatory Focus:
Managing Editor, Regulatory Focus magazine
RAPS – Rockville, MD
an appointed Board of Editors on the development of… English, communications or other publishing-related area Seven to nine years of managing editor/copy…
*The Primary Group in Alexandria is looking for a director of marketing communications:
Director of Marketing Communications
The Primary Group – Alexandria, VA
a Director of Marketing Communications to develop marketing communications and strategic programs based on… management marketing communications in a retail…
From The Primary Group
*LivingSocial has an opening in D.C. for a director of email and retention strategy:
Director of Email & Retention Strategy
LivingSocial – Washington, DC
marketing best practices Significant experience with preference-based communications Strong analytical capacity with experience presenting and communicating…
*DCI Group in D.C. is looking for someone to direct its strategic alliances:
Director – Strategic Alliances
DCI Group – Washington, DC
with a variety of communication & personality styles… domestically (10%) Excellent written and oral communication skills null We look forward to receiving…
From DCI Group
*The World Resource Institute’s EMBARQ is looking for a full-time intern to write for TheCityFix.com, an online publication for sustainable transport news and advocacy:
UPDATE: We are currently hiring for a Summer/Fall intern. Apply now!
EMBARQ is looking for a full-time (37.5 hours/week), 12-week blogger to write for TheCityFix.com, an online resource for sustainable transport news, advocacy and “best practice” solutions from around the world.
Available to start as early as August 23, the position is located in EMBARQ’s Washington, D.C. office and pays $12 per hour, plus the opportunity to share your writing and research with sustainable transport advocates and experts from around the world.
TheCityFix boasts a global network of writers and transport specialists, including engineers, entrepreneurs, urban planners and researchers, who explore environmentally and socially responsible ways to make cities better places to live. Since it launched in 2007, TheCityFix has been cited by media like The New York Times, The Economist, and Salon.com, and The Times of London named it one of the Top 50 Eco Blogs. Following a major re-design, the global blogging network launched its first local edition, TheCityFix DC, in June 2009, covering sustainable mobility in the Washington, D.C. metro area. Local editions have also been launched for Mexico City (df.thecityfix.com) and Mumbai (mumbai.thecityfix.com).
The blog is produced by EMBARQ – The World Resources Institute Center for Sustainable Transport, which catalyzes environmentally and financially sustainable transport solutions to improve quality of life in cities. Since 2002, the network has grown to include five Centers for Sustainable Transport, located in Mexico, Brazil, India, Turkey and the Andean Region, that work together with local transport authorities to reduce pollution, improve public health, and create safe, accessible and attractive urban public spaces. The network employs more than 60 experts in fields ranging from architecture to air quality management; geography to journalism; and sociology to civil and transport engineering. TheCityFix relies on this international community and other volunteers to provide a global, multi-disciplinary perspective to its coverage of local sustainable urban transport.
To apply, please submit your resume and include a writing sample with your cover letter (links to online work is preferred and acceptable.)
*Catholic Relief Services in Baltimore is looking for a Hispanic outreach writer/editor:
*The American Lung Association in D.C. is seeking a manager of online services:
*Women for Women International in D.C. has an opening for a deputy director of marketing:
*BBYO in D.C. is looking for a Web developer:
*And to wrap up today’s (and this week’s) leads, the Jewish Social Service Agency (JSSA) in Rockville is seeking a communications manager:
Happy hunting and have a relaxing late summer weekend! I’ll be back with you Monday morning!
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