Intuition: Your 21st Century Career Strategy

    August 18, 2003

In the first two-thirds of the twentieth century, you could plan a career and hope for security. People were advised, “If you choose Profession X, or learn Skill Y, you’ll always have a job.”

My high school advisors said, “If you can type, you can always work. We will always need secretaries.” A few years ago a CPA told me the partners of his Big Six firm are typing their own letters and memos. Three partners share a single assistant.

Some people remain in the time zone that ended more than two decades ago. A former academic colleague told me he had already planned his children’s careers: “I want them to major in a technical field so they can always get a job.”

His oldest child is fourteen. By the time she enters the work force, technical skills may be taken for granted, and universities may no longer offer the tenure that constitutes his own security blanket.

Today, you need flexibility and intuition. Flexibility means being a free spirit, being willing to take risks and make moves because they feel right, not waiting until we are forced by circumstances. We need skills to roll with the punches, not tools that can be used only when the ground beneath us is firm and solid.

Intuition means sensing that, “This move isn’t right for me,” or, “I will need a job change soon.” We need to rely less on rules and external process and more on, “The emperor has no clothes. I don’t care what everyone else says. I know.”

The New Career Strategy calls for a combination of freedom and intuition. You can’t rely on a counselor to calculate your future from a battery of tests. What’s needed is a change in values from security to adventure, and a jungle guide to help you find water in the career desert.

Cathy Goodwin, Ph.D., is an author, speaker and career/business consultant. Your Next Move Ezine: Read one each week and watch your choices grow!