Aug 8, 2011

The death of the one trick pony

In a crazy unstable economic climate as the one we’re living through, the ability to adapt is fundamental to your survival. Gone are the days when having a single skillset was more than adequate to earn your pension or a decent paycheck. With shrinking markets, less available jobs and more people coming into the global workforce every semester, the survival will go to the highly specialized or the highly adaptable.

I make the clarification that the highly specialized shall make a living because experts shall always have work to be done, especially if it has to do with life or death situations or something that serious though financially speaking. For the rest of the world population, you’d better be able to adapt.

Why do I write about this? Simple. I know of a couple of people, great people who are fairly good at what they do that aren’t willing to grow professionally or work on their skillsets because they assume that their job will be around forever. I am a bit more skeptical than that to say the least and I’ve been able to see way too many good professionals get canned and later have to scramble to do something to make ends meet and having a hard time to adapt to it.

Think of it this way, if your agency suddenly cans you, which can happen any given day, where to next? Another agency? What if no one is hiring? What if you can’t find a job? What if more agency people are being fired? What if they’re actually better than you or cheaper? What then? Roll up into a ball and die?

Some people have been able to survive by working freelance and godbless them because they are masters of their time but not masters of their peace of mind. A lot of people I know who work freelance have had to be extra savvy when it comes to managing money because they’ve known to be unemployed 3 months at a time. I know quite a few people who've made a living off freelance, but for me, I'm not sure I could handle that pressure.

Now back to the topic at hand, adaptability. Darwin insisted on survival of the fittest, this can be translated to modern times by people being able and willing to do jobs that they weren’t necessarily trained for. Why do I bring this up? Well just look at the unemployment numbers and have a nice long think about plans B through Z in case your current plan doesn’t pan out, because odds are it won’t. It’s still possible but being prepared for the worst will let you deal with it best.

I recently saw 3 excellent professionals get canned. Before those three more than a hundred have been handed pink slips and a reality check they’ll have to eventually check. Every department is making cuts… aggressive cuts… unemotional cuts… real cuts. For my part, I’m emotionally prepared to leave the comfort of the cubicle and try my skills at something else… how about you?



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