Understand the workplace: Seven basic facts

Whether you are looking for a job because of a recent downsizing or exploring your career options, below are seven facts to help you understand the workplace today.

Fact #1: Opportunities are unlimited.
Everyone has choices as to how they will spend their lives. Individuals will continue debating the precise form society should take, yet no one can argue that ours is still a prosperous nation where ideas, education, hard work, and persistence can be richly rewarded. You are limited only by your own self-imposed restrictions to build the type of life you envision for yourself.

Fact #2 Career opportunities are everywhere.
A “job” is simply a contract under which you apply your interests and abilities to help someone else solve their problems and then receive money in return. To say there are no career choices is like saying there are no problems left to be solved, a statement which is not true. To be a successful job seeker in our rapidly changing employment market, you must take responsibility for locating those employers whose problems you are prepared to solve.

Fact #3: More choices make it harder, not easier.
Having multiple opportunities is a mixed blessing. Which choice do you make? How do you know it’s the “right” choice? What if you make a mistake? Every choice brings consequences, some of which you may expect and others you may not. Choices are the changes they bring about can be uncomfortable for a while. That is why many people choose to remain for years in jobs they have long since grown tired of, doing work that may have been challenging once, but has since become dull and uninteresting.

Fact #4: Your success is your responsibility.
It has to be! No one can provide you with success and security. Your family and friends can’t. The government can’t. Corporations can’t; you get the point. You may get help along the way from any of these sources, and some people are more fortunate than others in that regard. But, at the end of the day, your career success is up to you.

Fact #5: No one is born knowing how to plan a career.
We learned many things in school, but few of us learned how to make thoughtful and well-informed decisions about guiding our own careers. If we are to learn these things, we must start now.

Fact #6: Career transition principles work.
Millions of people have applied the techniques we will pass along to you. From every walk of life, these people have proven beyond all doubt that leaving or changing a job, whether by separation or by choice, was, ultimately, a positive experience. They have discovered, as you will, deep inner resources that can reignite a career.

Fact #7: There is no better time than right now to make a change.
In a distinct departure from the past, the workplace now is not as interested in your last job titles as it is in what you can do. Your strengths are widely transferable within the workplace of today. Multiple jobs and multiple careers are no longer the rare exception; they are becoming the rule.