OGDEN — Young people entering the workforce can expect to hold seven to 10 relatively short-duration jobs during their careers, says a nationally known employment expert.
Rich Feller, president of the National Career Development Association, says many companies are in a state of flux because of unstable economic conditions, which means it’s unlikely individuals will spend their career with just one employer.
“The shelf life of jobs is getting shorter,” says Feller, who has been a consultant for NASA, the Japan Institute for Social and Economic Affairs and other organizations. Because of that flux, job seekers should think of themselves as project-based free agents rather than lifetime employees, Feller says in a telephone interview.
They need to realize skills they are learning now will help them be successful in the future, he says.
Employees should ask themselves what they are learning to add value to a company, Feller says.
He adds it’s essential that workers become knowledge nomads, constantly focusing on learning new skills.
“Experience (in a particular job) no longer means you have knowledge.”
Knowledge nomads are adventurous and try to avoid routine and repetitive tasks, Feller says. They also seek intellectual stimulation and are energetic and enthusiastic.
The opposite of knowledge nomads are the “nervously employed,” those workers who focus on fears, self-doubt and a lack of hope about their careers, Feller says.
They are also frustrated by rapidly changing expectations about working and learning.
“They (the nervously employed) feel like they are owed a job,” he says.
Michelle Beese, a Western Region trustee for the National Career Development Association who lives in El Dorado Hills, Calif., agrees with Feller that job seekers should continually strive to improve their knowledge, skills and ability.
They also need to constantly network with other professionals to sharpen their skills and discover new employment opportunities, Beese says.
“I like to say not networking, not working,” she says. “You should always be looking for a job.”