Welcome to the age of Protean Careers

Get used to the term for it’s here to stay.  Better yet, we all better get used to the concept of Protean Careers.  Indeed, the American workplace has changed forever; and this is presenting significant problems for many who have come to depend upon the “Industrial Age” workplace. The “Protean” workplace is the only viable solution to the SHIFT away from employers taking care of employees to employees taking care of themselves.

Many factors have contributed to this workplace SHIFT including technology, outsourcing as a result of less expensive labor provided by countries that were freed from the shackles of communism like Hungary, Romania, The Czech Republic, and many more – 1.8 BILLION new inductees into the free market system.  You see, it’s not just China and India.  Another factor has to do with the deepest recession we’ve experienced since the Great Depression, where the bursting of the pre-recession housing and stock market bubbles has shrunk the wealth of the average American household by an estimated 20%.  There is no job security and there are no jobs or careers for life any more.  There are no guaranteed weekly paychecks, benefits, vacation time, or even a job on any given day.  Big companies are eating up little ones, entire industries are disappearing, and Americans are manufacturing less and less year after year.

The Protean Solution

It is clear that we can NO LONGER place all our eggs (financial future and quality of life) in one basket… with one employer; one boss; and one source of income !  The Protean Solution is a process where the individual monitors and assesses the job market; and develops the skills, qualifications, and necessary talents to thrive in an ever-changing workplace; an ever-changing global world. This requires lifelong education / management, multiple streams of income, an entrepreneurial approach to all areas of work, and versatility never required since the industrial revolution.

Proteus: The Mythical Greek Sea God

Proteus was the mythical Greek sea god; the son of Poseidon, who was best known for two primary strengths: 1) He was able to foretell / predict the future and 2) He was able to change, adapt, and acclimate himself to successfully meet and thrive in the future that he envisioned.

In today’s transformational, global economy and workplace, individuals, must have the strengths of Proteus!

A Societal SHIFT is Required

If we are to successfully survive and thrive in today’s and tomorrow’s workplace, there needs to be a societal overhaul. School, colleges and universities still prepare students for one career; but the top 10 in-demand jobs today weren’t even jobs in 2004!  How can we prepare students for one career when most will hold 4-5 in their lifetime?  For starters, we need to encourage individuals to turn off the TV, as a lifestyle, and initiate individual enterprises to supplement other streams of income.  And we need all sectors of society to collaborate and quickly address viable and sustaiable solutions.

Government is NOT an answer

If individuals are unable to depend on business for their financial well being and ‘stability,’ they will turn to the government.  But the Federal government is broke.  Most states are broke.  And as we become more indifferent, apathetic, and slothful – individually and as a society – other nations and peoples of those nations that are “hungrier” than ever, will succeed while America recedes.

The Proteus Solution is the only viable solution to the SHIFT away from employers taking care of employees to employees taking care of themselves.

I have initiated a new group on LinkedIn: Protean Careers.  The “Protean Career” is the future of the workplace and the job search, and I invite you to join in the collaborative discussions that will help navigate us through this transformational SHIFT.

To join the group, please go to: http://linkd.in/aqV4tA

For webpage information, please go to: http://bit.ly/cC4F3R


Jay Block is an industry pioneer and the nation’s leading motivational career coach.  Jay is a best-selling author of 15 books, including his latest blockbuster: 101 Best Ways To Land a Job in Troubled Times (McGraw-Hill).  He has a 20-year record of success for creating and recreating the career management industry. His website is: www.jayblock.com.