The New Rules for the Modern Workplace

The New Rules for the Modern Workplace

Bloomberg, April 2013

The current state of our economy has transformed the workplace and how we manage our careers. There is no longer such a thing as a linear career path. A college degree doesn’t magically turn into a job and an MBA doesn’t mean you’ll automatically get a promotion. Even if you get a job, it’s not stable and you won’t be staying with the same employer for life. The rules of the workplace have changed and therefore you must not only understand them, but be able to navigate around them in order to be successful. The employees who succeed have an open mind, are constant learners, and are willing to push themselves out of their current responsibilities (and comfort zones) to take on bigger roles.

The only thing that’s certain in today’s modern workplace is that you can’t rely on anyone or anything—you have to be accountable for your career and to take charge of your life.

Rule No. 1: Your job is temporary. Where you start isn’t where you’ll end up. Your job, company, and profession may completely change because of mergers and acquisitions, layoffs, outsourcing, automation, and various other factors that are outside your control. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the average American will have about nine jobs from the age of 18 to 32. The job you’re in now is just a stepping stone along your path.

Rule No. 2: Do not let your job description confine you. If you solely focus on your current responsibilities without broadening out, you won’t be able to advance and will become expendable. Companies are desperately searching for leaders—those who take initiative and are willing to go the extra mile. Once you’ve proven yourself in your role, seek out new projects from your manager and even other groups in your organization. While you’re managing your role, you should be acquiring new skills to help carry you to your next role.

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