Career Management Cycles to Succeed in the Labour Market

The career is organized around what we call Cycles, that is, the different roles and jobs you have during your professional life. 

There is not a magic number of years you should stay in one job, but the time you spend in each place is meaningful in terms of building up your professional profile.

You will need to make decisions and then execute without looking back. Once you feel the cycle is completed, you will evaluate if the job has fulfilled your expectations, and continue down that road or change course.

If you are a recent graduate, it is not a surprise if you change job as you try to figure out what you want to be. Later, recruiters tend to look for consistency. The average  number of years that workers stay with their employers has decreased during the last decades but changing professional role too frequently will not be positive for your job interviews. When you start in a new job, it is not advisable to abandon or seek a change when the first setback appears. You learn a lot from difficult situations and it is advisable to stay on track during a reasonable period of time, unless there is an exceptional circumstance that advises otherwise.

Why Becoming a Lifelong Learner is Key in Your Career

Let us start with the global trends to explain this Viking Rule, as Technological Innovation and Demographic changes are transforming the world of work.

On the one hand, automation, robotics and artificial intelligence are changing the production processes and business models in all sectors of the economy. The labour demand is being modified according to the new skills and knowledge required by the new business environment. Against this background, the workforce must be trained to adapt to the new market circumstances.

On the other hand, we have demographic trends, which in developed economies translate into an aging population that puts pressure on the social welfare systems. The solution in many cases is to extend the working life to maintain social security systems. In a nutshell, we will foreseeably have to work a greater number of years in the future.

In summary, we have two major trends in the labour market: a continuous innovation process that rapidly changes the skills and knowledge required to remain active in the labour market and workers with a longer working life. As the OECD Employment Outlook published in 2017 points out, one of the keys to help workers navigate this rapidly changing market is to enable them to build the right skills throughout their working lives to adapt in response to the market needs.

Work-Life Integration vs Work-Life Balance

In an earlier post, we spoke about the first Viking Rule to build a successful career: get to know yourself so you can find your vocation, the place where your talent meets what you like and what the world needs.

The second Viking Rule is to understand the market needs. When you start your professional career, it is normal not to know how the labour market Works and what companies need and offer, so you may need to consult people with more experience than yourself to find out the long-term characteristics of each career path.

A Mentor is a person with experience that helps you in your development within a formal program or as a result of a more spontaneous relationship. In other words, a Mentor is like a friend who listens to you and gives you advice on any subject that you are free to accept or reject. A Coach is something different, it is usually a specialized professional who directs you towards concrete results in the professional field and monitors your progress.