I recently read a fascinating article in Fast Company, You Should Plan On Switching Your Job Every 3 Years For The Rest Of Your Life.
One point leapt out to me: Job hoppers (at least high performance job hoppers) are fast learners and much more adaptable. The argument is, to be able to fit in, job hoppers have a very fast learning curve, quickly learning how to fit in, contribute and have an impact.
It’s an intriguing and powerful thought.
On reflection, however, I realized no job and few companies can afford to stay the same for three years. Stated differently, your job today is different than it was three years ago and will be different again in another three years.
Virtual Job Hopper: Same Employer, Evolving Job
So without job hopping, in fact our jobs are changing (I guess that might be called virtual job hopping). The skills and capabilities required for success are constantly changing. The problem is, are we adapting and learning at the pace required to keep up with our jobs?
The skills and capabilities that got us the job are no longer the critical skills and capabilities required to keep the job and perform at the highest levels.
Recently, Randall Stephenson, chairman and CEO of AT&T, challenged all employees to "Adapt Or Else." His view is that things are changing so fast, that if each person isn’t investing a minimum of 5-10 hours a week in learning, they will not be able to compete or perform in at least AT&T’s environment.
Both these reviews, reinforce the crisis we have in the workplace around learning and continual improvement. Standing in place, not improving our skills and capabilities doesn’t keep us in place, but puts us further behind.
To remain competitive, to perform at the highest levels possible, we have to constantly adapt and learn. We have to change ourselves and how we do our jobs–because our jobs don’t stay the same.
Too many sit back, expecting their companies to give them the skills and training necessary to perform in their jobs. While our employers have a responsibility to do this (more a need in order to stay competitive), job hoppers and consistent high performers have a different mentality.
Take Ownership Of Learning
Job hoppers and high performers realize continued learning, development, and reinvention is their personal responsibility. They take personal ownership of their learning. They realize they need to learn and develop skills at a pace that is faster than the changes around them, so they figure out what they need to do to compete, grow and develop. They take ownership for their careers and their ability to move into new jobs and situations and perform.
Survival in the new world of work requires each of us to learn, adapt or become irrelevant.
Managers and leaders need to recognize this as well. They need to constantly provide and require new learning, both formal and informal. They need to recognize they can’t provide everything, and hold their people accountable to find opportunities to learn and develop. They need to hold themselves accountable for the same things==no one is immune from this rapid change in jobs.
Managers and leaders need to recognize that if they don’t continue to provide great challenge and an accelerated learning/change environment, their best people will leave to go to a bigger challenge.
Whether we like it or not, in effect, we constantly need to requalify and reapply to keep our current jobs. If we aren’t constantly developing the skills needed, we will be replaced by someone who has those skills.