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Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.
— 1 Cor. 3.13 KJV
It just doesn’t get any better than this. If you read our most recent comprehensive look at the world of work (see “The Future is Now,” February 2000), you know that the labor market is in top form and that job hoppers hold the lion’s share of power to negotiate top-notch employment packages. While that’s definitely news working folks can use, have you done any more than just read about this wonderful information? If not, you’ll want to pay extra close attention.
Now is the best time to be working. But here’s a news flash for you: if you’re not taking full advantage of this buyer’s market — that is, if you’re working too hard in a too-small space for too little personal and financial reward — you’re living beneath your professional privilege. Unless you take the steps to rectify your situation now, you’ll be kissing more than just the 20th century good-bye.
On the following pages are five rules you must follow if you desire to gain professional power in the new millennium. Read them. Study them. Incorporate them into your career strategy. But most important, act on them now. If you come away from this report with only one thought, let it be this: you have two choices. You can choose to control your career and assume full responsibility for getting the most out of it, or you can choose to perish in the new world of work. Now is the time to stop making excuses and get busy doing what you need to do to get to where you want to go professionally.
Pursue continuing education to avoid becoming obsolete. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that through the year 2006, the highest paying occupations will require at least a bachelor’s degree. But it’s not enough to stop there. If you’ve had your degree — whether it’s an associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s or doctorate — for more than five years, your skills are already on the verge of antiquation. In order to avoid becoming “jobsolete,” you’ll need to get up to speed — and stay current with the ever-changing marketplace.
In this tight labor market, you’ll be up against some of the most highly skilled, tech-savvy professionals to ever compete in the job search rat race. Increased global competition and the application of technology have virtually transformed entire industries and occupations, and the way work is carried out. If you don’t stay on top of all of these changes — and how they affect what you do from day-to-day — you will be left out of the loop.
Therefore, take any opportunity to update your proficiency and increase your expertise. Go back to school and get an advanced degree. Earn a certificate through an online distance learning program. Take continuing education courses relevant to your field. Use your employer’s on-site training and/or tuition