This change may affect your marketing career
How would you approach your current employment, or your next job interview, if you knew it would last for only 2 to 4 years?
Technology is a dodgy world when you only half-know what’s going on. I have avoided upgrading my smartphone because I cannot handle the trauma of changeover. Somehow, despite my efforts, I lose many of my contacts, some of my calendar, and spend days recovering from an unwanted return to ‘default settings’.
My smartphone strategy is less than smart. As Ali G mused during the recent Brit Awards, given we have seen iPhone 1, iPhone 2, iPhone 3, iPhone 4 and iPhone 5, who can tell what’s to come in the future?
The changes of the Information Age are wide indeed and may leave us with few choices, despite the attendant trauma.
LinkedIn is a site which has become both important and tricky for those employed or seeking employment. I have read that Google’s senior management predicts employees’ intentions to quit based on the frequency of their online updates, often inadvertently broadcast to all and sundry. If she’s updating her work experience on LinkedIn, she likely on the move!
It is sobering to consider that one of the finest online brands for professionals, LinkedIn, seems willing to betray its users with privacy defaults and options which catch you out whilst protesting that they are, in fact, helping you out.
Perhaps, in marketing at least, we are each of us permanently on the market and should all be regularly updating our CV’s online. To hell with what employers may think.
The practice of marketing is becoming more and more modular. Many marketing roles are effectively project-based, albeit rolling-over to new assignments all the time. Even among those engaged in brand and portfolio management, many marketers see their roles as project-related: preparing X for launch, getting Y re-positioned; launching Z in new geographies, etc.
A recent article in the Harvard Business Review suggests that the job market for leading professionals is moving from permanent employment to ‘a tour of duty’ (a phrase deeply understood in an American psyche now permanently at war).
The article’s central thesis is this: employment is no longer for life, and many workers (especially entrepreneurial managers) will take a new job for 2-4 years to achieve something important with the explicit understanding that they will then move on. This is not to say they MUST move on, rather that the spirit of the deal (‘the new compact’) acknowledges that employment is temporary collaboration, not indefinite commitment. The focus is not on permanent employment, but permanent employability.
Seeing employment as a ‘tour of duty’ would herald quite a different world – one where moving on is planned, expected and valued by all parties. It eliminates the illusion of permanence from the workplace. Because permanence, the article argues, has long-since ceased to exist.
Thus, polishing one’s own personal brand, via LinkedIn and other means, is not only normal, but expected.
Sounds uncomfortable? To many, I’m figuring the answer is probably yes. Seeing one’s job as ‘a tour of duty’ seems to laugh in the face of stability, mutuality and peace of mind. One of my favourite podcasts, On Point, recently took up this very issue and the discussion was particularly interesting.
And yet, this is a ship that’s fast approaching – and marketing is likely its first port of call. The growth of professional search and placement services, such as Alternatives (in Dublin), seems to be part of a wider movement.
Just as upgrading to the latest smartphone comes with both hassles and benefits, so too a shift in the way we think of employment.
Because, as Ali G so insightfully muses, who can tell what’s to come in the future?