The other day I was giving a workshop on Self-Management in careers to a number of employees of a Belgian branch of a multi-national company. When I explained the career attitudes which allow individuals to manage their own careers, I was struck by a question of one of the attendees: “Do companies really want us to take charge of our careers?”
In other words, this employee was not necessarily convinced that her company is open to a true negotiation when it comes down to the careers of its employees. She is probably not alone.
My answer to her question was a conditional one: “If your company has accepted the fact that the underlying career model to our career management practices has changed, it must consequently accept that careers have become a negotiation between employee and organization. You cannot negotiate with people who don’t know what they want. Hence, Self-Management is a necessary condition on the side of the employee.
There are plenty of arguments to say that the underlying career model has changed:
Whereas traditional careers were linear and two-dimensional, with a strong focus on performance (from the point of view of the company), contemporary careers have become spiral-like: dynamic and three dimensional. The focus nowadays is on subjective career success, and therefore the individual has to deal with his or her career very consciously.
If you are an HR-professional you might want to consider these tips:
Careers have become dynamic, three- dimensional and unpredictable. Accepting this model has consequences for both individuals and organizations. Allowing and developing Self-Management is at the heart of it.