Our work world is far different from what it used to be. The workplace is always changing and adapting to our societal needs, but there has been an especially dramatic transformation over the past decade.
Here are 10 Ways Our Jobs have Changed Over the Past Decade:
Jobs are not forever. Perhaps it was the blessing of a booming economy that took root in the 1950s, but jobs became long-term commitments between employers and the people who worked for them. Sure, some people changed jobs every few years, but companies expected their employees to stay around for decades in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. That’s not longer true.
Widespread telecommuting is finally happening. Back as far as the 1950s, the Motorola exhibit at Disneyland predicted that one day many of us would work from home. That seemed like a dream until the past decade. Technology and communication breakthroughs made it easier than ever to work from our homes today, and employers have finally realized this can actually save them money.
Higher productivity with fewer employees. Sure, we were all waiting for robots to do our jobs and they do these days in assembly and manufacturing plants. But there is a higher priority now than ever on individual employees producing more, even when co-workers have been eliminated. This is a pressure that will continue to grow in the years ahead.
Job-training and college educations have finite value in the workplace. Because of technology advances, we need to continually update skills and learn new ones. This lifelong learning concept has been a difficult sell to older workers who had worked for a couple of decades without learning anything new. Now, we are all students again.
Retirement saving and planning is our personal responsibility. The days of company pensions designed to fund your retirement years are nearly gone. Now, workers are expected to save through their 401(k)s for retirement and to map out the lifestyle they want to live in retirement.
Unemployment used to be something that happened to people for a few weeks or a couple of months. But as the nation’s latest recession has demonstrated, unless employers feel comfortable with the future of the economy they won’t add jobs. That has led to long-term unemployment that can now extend for years.
Career-planning is more important than ever. Job opportunities come and go in today’s market. It is your responsibility to figure out which opportunities to pursue and when to change jobs. This is an increasingly important survival skill.
Healthcare costs used to be the problem of employers. But some employers are suspending healthcare benefits because they have become so expensive and other employers have started overseas operations to escape U.S. healthcare expenses. That is leaving more American workers without access to essential and cost-efficient medical coverage.
Your next job might not pay as well as the last one did. This is a big test for the Baby Boomers who find themselves jobless just a few years short of retirement. Many of them had expected to earn top dollar until the day they retired and planned their retirements around that.
The never-ending workweek. Technology has made each of us available 24/7. It has become our responsibility to know when to disconnect from work and when to plug-in. It’s a balancing act that too few have handled well.