If there is a message in the redundancy announcements of the last week it is, “do not rely on your employer to provide you with a future”.

This guy didn't wait for anyone to show him what to do
I’m not just talking about the obvious; that there are no jobs for life. No, I mean it is totally on you to stay relevant. Employers will only ever provide development that helps the organisation at a particular point in time.
Nothing wrong with that. They can’t afford to do anything else. I still recommend people try and get an employer to pay for professional development. It is better for your bank balance and your employer will hopefully promote you as a way of getting a return on its investment.

However, don’t rely on it and invest in yourself. Another reason why it’s important that you track trends and invest your own time and money in upskilling is that you cannot rely on your employer to be ahead of the curve.
In fact, many of the mass redundancies to hit the headlines this year including the latest from media giant Fairfax and the job cuts expected at News Limited are proof of how difficult organisations find it to change.
There are Australian organisations on the cutting edge of course but are you working for one?
Just over a week ago, IBM released a report outlining how Australia will remain behind many Asian neighbours until we have ubiquitous high speed broadband.
Written by IBIS World’s founder and chairman, Phil Ruthven, A snapshot of Australia’s Digital Future to 2050 outlines points to what we will gain when ICT becomes a utility and instrument of transformation in the same way electricity was in the industrial age.
Our skepticism has held us back. Ruthven told media: “…there’s been so many naysayers out there suggesting we don’t need [high speed broadband], which is it a bit like saying ‘dirt roads were quite adequate 50 years ago, who needs a sealed road and a four-lane highway?’”
The report looked at the impact of sophisticated ICT on more than 500 sectors – mostly good news except for 15 industries placed on the endangered species list - newspapers, free-to-air television, radio, book publishing, DVD stores and cinema amongst them. All will die without dramatic reinvention.
ICT will make education, health and the provision of public services cool places to work. Down the track tourism could be as big a money-spinner for Australia as mining is today.
Yet I still meet people as young as 35 who shun technological change. They dismiss social media in particular as something to be delegated to the youngest people in the office. Ridiculous. Social media is now a standard communication tool – get to know it.
Another often-neglected area is people management and emotional intelligence. You cannot rely on your employer to skill you up in these areas but the benefits of taking this on yourself are huge.
In his career book, The Start Up of You, Reid Hoffman, the co-founder and chairman of LinkedIn, says the world is changing at such a rapid clip we must take charge of our own constant learning, networking and trend watching.
Australian business owner and executive coach Peter Black says we have suffered from a belief that our employer is solely responsible for our development.
Black says we need to be “intrepreneurs” – internal employees that think like entrepreneurs asking ourselves questions like “how are my levels of customer service? Am I maintaining a competitive advantage [over my peers]?”
Only this week recruitment firm Robert Half released results from a survey of office workers lamenting the lack of career coaching they get on the job because their boss is too busy to provide it.
Forget it. Find a mentor, join a professional association, talk to an accountant or the Australian Tax Office helpline about what is tax deductible and do some short courses, join a library. Read books – while they are still around.
A week ago I was talking to media students at Macquarie University and via a live broadcast on 2SER about how to find jobs.
Ben Fordham of 2GB/TODAY and TODAY personality and nutritionist Dr Joanna McMillan were also on the panel as well as Macquarie University’s Head of the Department of Sociology, Professor Dr Michael Fine. They provided fantastic, real life tips but I’m more curious as to how the students see things.
Today I asked the guy who organised the event - political science student Jordan Lefebvre. He also has a part time job at TODAY - hence the talent on the panel.
He reckons future media grads have two options. “They can see the cutting of jobs and think ‘why work hard now the industry is dying’ or they can recognise that these positions will be replaced by new opportunities [that they can work to fill].”
“I can’t understand why so many media students aren’t on Twitter, frequently blogging or doing something to build a catalogue of digital work they can use when applying for jobs,” he says. Me neither and so it begins again.

The thing Lefebvre does worry about is the important foundations and lessons that will disappear when many experienced and traditionally trained journalists lose their jobs.

He is right about that and I am also sad for all those losing their jobs and facing an uncertain future. I don’t write any of this as a criticism of them but more as a warning to everyone else.  

Follow Kate on Twitter: @KateSoutham

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    • acotrel says:

      07:18am | 22/06/12

      Study industrial chemistry and see if you can get a job when you are over fifty.  The message should be ‘don’t rely on an employer for ANYTHING’ !  The system runs on bullshit, and the sooner you accept that fact, the happier you will be. John Howard had it right - if you want to get ahead, do your own thing - start your own business !  Intellectual property is the key, and it doesn’t really matter who owns it.

    • Alby says:

      10:17am | 22/06/12

      Too much is expected of employers these days. Too little of people. Lets all have a whinge about it.

    • Emma says:

      07:19am | 22/06/12

      It is not easy for everyone to change companies, careers etc. I worked for a company that was about to go down. I jumped ship and read about their bankruptcy one year later in the news paper. It was right there for everyone to see, it was no surprise - yet none of my former colleagues left the company on time. It seems to put some people under terrible stress for some reason to think about trading a familiar working environment for a new experience. Not everyone likes to do something new, some are just content to know their job, know what they have to expect and hopefully do that until retirement. And there nothing really wrong with that as long as it works. Its the kind of people that, once they have found a new job - constantly say things like “ooohhh… (pause)... in my old company we used green folders for invoices….” and then they look lost and unhappy.

    • acotrel says:

      08:22am | 22/06/12

      If you have worked for a company conscientiously for several years, you have invested a large part of your life in it.  It is not easy to just walk away -  some of us are professionally committed.  It’s OK to say ‘just get another job’, but the imposed adjustment to the shift of loyalties is sometimes even more difficult than finding the new job..

    • Greed&Envy; says:

      10:07am | 22/06/12

      Emma is correct.

      It is clear through ace trolls comment why he never went passed middle management and is a burnt out bitter individual.

    • James1 says:

      12:27pm | 22/06/12

      Rubbish acotrel.  I have never had an employer I felt any serious loyalty towards, any more that they felt any loyalty to me.  To them, I was simply a unit of production.  To me, they were simply the best offer I had at the time.  Once a better offer comes along, I move along, and I doubt my previous employers ever expected anything else from me.

      The fact is, the relationship between an employer and their employee is and should be an economic one.  Turn it into something else, and you have problems.

    • Audra Blue says:

      11:06pm | 22/06/12

      James1, you are so right.

      I used to be loyal to my employers thinking it would work in my favour.  But over the years each job took a little bit from me that I never got back.  After being bullied in 3 separate jobs last year (after never having experienced it before) I decided my perspective needed a little adjusting.

      Now, I go in, do my best in the job because it makes me look good, deal with people effectively and as soon as something better comes along, I’m gone.  Nobody is concerned with my happiness but me so I owe it to myself to make my life as pleasant as possible.

      After all, once you leave a job, after a few months, most people won’t even remember you were ever there.

    • Craig says:

      07:20am | 22/06/12

      Career development is the individual’s job. However Australians have been bred and trained to expect handouts.

      It requires generational change to undo this damage - once we manage to change the culture first!

    • Macca says:

      07:45am | 22/06/12

      Every now and then I’ll have a conversation with someone at work (often a young graduate or disillusioned functional expert) who indicates to me they are disappointed the company hasn’t provided then with opportunities to advance their career.

      I’ll ask then what steps they have taken to enhance themselves. The response is often somewhere between confusion and bewilderment. It’s a somewhat difficult switch in mentality for these individuals when they realize it’s on them to develop themselves.

    • acotrel says:

      08:33am | 22/06/12

      Life is a learning experience, and continuing to study is essential for anyone with even a meagre intellect.  But please don’t tell me about who pays or who benefits ! I attended night classes until age 57.  I always paid my own fees.  I was never paid for the long hours of study required to get qualified.  Not for the annual leave that I had forgone for many years or the weekends and public holidays I spent in my lounge room with the books while my kids got under the table and bumped it with their heads.  The remuneration from my job never fully compensated me for my efforts.  The only thing I really gained was that in my old age I am competent, and I have some choice in what I must do with my life. And now I have to contend with agism from employers who cannot themselves do what I can.

    • acotrel says:

      08:39am | 22/06/12

      The only way any of us can advance our careers is by moving on to the next job, and negotiating carefully.  If you believe you can convince your current employer to advance your career, you are deluding yourself.  Once you are in an organisation, politics , nepotism and favoritism come into play, and you are in a pigeon hole. You become part of the furniture, and noone will polish you !

    • Macca says:

      09:47am | 22/06/12

      @Acotrrel, don’t entirely disagree with you. Opportunities in your organisation may come up from time to time to advance, but I’v found that stretching yourself in your current role, and then taking the step up in a new company is, unfortunately, an easier approach.

    • Kate Southam says:

      09:32am | 25/06/12

      In fairness to everyone out there - employers give us mixed messages - telling us that they value their people and will skill them up…offer development. It is a part of job negotiation. Hence the article. I don’t think people are stupid just fore believing that their employer will provide training & development - the promise has been part of the work culture. The problem is many companies are not developing as fast as they need to or their budgets don’t allow development activities.

    • Macca says:

      07:39am | 22/06/12

      I probably piss my manager off a little bit by doing this, but I meet with a few recruiters every few months to understand what’s going on in the market; what skills are in demand, what types of candidates are companies looking for, how are companies structuring their support functions, what programs are being rolled out in the industry.

      I can use this information to tailor my role at work, or at least put my hand up for projects and challenges that will stretch my experience.

      If a company offers opportunities for personal and professional development, that’s great, but expecting your employer to drop a development plan in your lap is wishful thinking.

    • acotrel says:

      08:45am | 22/06/12

      Macca, Most Australian companies are not ‘learning organisations’ based on continual improvement.  We’ve traditionally had a ‘she’ll be right, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it’ approach.  Where do you believe a mover and shaker like yourself will fit in ?  Things might be a bit different when our leaders come to understand that Australia must compete on the basis of quality, but the change of mindset will be too much for many companies.

    • Macca says:

      09:50am | 22/06/12

      @Acotrel, again, I slightly disagree. Australian companies are not that particularly agile, and there is definitely a culture of ‘what has worked in the past will work in the future’.

      However, I think we have seen a change in the past decade or so, whereby companies realise they need to adapt to compete. The acceleration of technology changes has probably assisted this change in mentality.

      I think more and more companies are becoming adapt to change, or at-least recognise the need for improvement. Althought, I agree this is a change from the tradition.

    • Greed&Envy; says:

      10:11am | 22/06/12

      Anyone who doesn’t do that is simply in the “I deserve this job” mentality. As with Macca, you don’t need to be actively seeking re-employment, but Moreno keeping a finger on the pulse of current trends and fields of employment. Each sector goes through their own hiring and firing phases, and keeping ahead of the crowd is as easy as Macca indicates…speak to those in the recruiting business.

    • Stephan says:

      07:48am | 22/06/12

      Don’t rely on corporations for your skills?  Well yes, people should be responsible for their own education and training.  The problem then is that what do the corporations do for me, or the community?

      Sure, some donate to charities (to headlines and publicity mostly) and others to sports, etc (ditto).  Why shouldn’t corporations contribute to the betterment of their staff.  We, as individuals, are exorted to exercise and eat healthily so that we can lead long and productive lives.  For what? 

      The equivalent for corporations would be to more effectively support staff.  They don’t, usually.  Generally this is to “save” money/funds. In the meantime corporations suck us dry as they become more and more parasitic. That is a zero sum game that ends badly, when it finally does.

    • Macca says:

      08:40am | 22/06/12

      What do corporations do for me or the community?

      Give you a job, pay taxes and provide a service, particularly the latter. If it doesn’t provide a service, no-one will pay for it.

    • JT says:

      09:09am | 22/06/12

      ‘‘The problem then is that what do the corporations do for me, or the community?’‘

      They are providing jobs, goods and services. You seem to be the perfect example of what Craig mentions further up; you think you are entitled to handouts.

      ‘‘That is a zero sum game that ends badly, when it finally does.’‘

      No it is not, do you even understand the term zero sum game?

    • Kipling says:

      07:49am | 22/06/12

      Absolutely personal development is the responsibility of the individual.

      Of course what is left unsaid here is that employee loyalty is the responsibility of the employer to earn. Obviously there are myriad options for how employers choose to go about this. Professional develop that serves both the company and the individual is just one option.

    • Expat Ozzie says:

      09:56am | 22/06/12

      Kipling: Employee loyalty is the key that most miss in my view. That is why one of my personal favourite business leaders is the Costco CEO Jim Sinegal. He has built the third largest retailer in the US and pays his staff above average wages and as a result has very low staff turn over. Many could learn a thing or two from him about human management. I’ve always believed as a manager you look after the people and they will do the work for you.

      I also like the fact he leads from the front instead of locking himself in a boardroom.

    • Alby says:

      10:25am | 22/06/12

      Thats great Expat Aussie while the business is booming, but Jim Sinegal does not have a crystal ball and things could change dramatically, will he be a saint if he sacks 3000 people to keep the business alive.

      Most people on this thread need a public service job for life by the sounds of it, a little too fragile for the real world

    • Expat Ozzie says:

      11:59am | 22/06/12

      Alby: Why don’t you read a little about the man before making uniformed comments such as this. As far as I know he hasn’t “sacked” any permanent staff even in the biggest retail down turn the US has seen in many decades.

      The man has managed the business through many different stages and has achieved exceptional results. He has done this and still maintained his staff loyalty at an exceptional level. His management style is as I said leading from the front and the guy has his finger on the pulse of the company. He is well known for what is called his “death marchs” in which he tours his outlets talking to the actual staff on the floor not getting the ivory tower treatment from the hierarchy.

      “will he be a saint if he sacks 3000 people to keep the business alive.”

      Costco’s Quartly growth for May 2012 was 8.6% and this is in a down turn. You can have a look at the rest of the figurers but he’s not to bad really considering he rates his work force as his biggest asset.

      Here’s a couple of articles with a little details for you there plenty more.



      “Most people on this thread need a public service job for life by the sounds of it, a little too fragile for the real world”

      I really don’t know how you got to this from Kiplings or my posts. It’s just good business sense to train and retain. You don’t even have to think to deeply to see the logic.

    • Mahhrat says:

      07:49am | 22/06/12

      I’ve learned this, so I’m doing it for myself.  I want to work from home - doesn’t really matter what, so I’m developing a few streams with that in mind.

      I’ll never change the world,  but I’ll have my castle and I’ll be self sufficient when I’m 65; I guess that’s good enough.

    • acotrel says:

      08:55am | 22/06/12

      All you need is a small regular earner to top up your super or Centrelink pension, if you own your home.  Then life can be really great in old age.  But you must be well away from 9 to 5 ers, with a choice about when you work.
      I think that if I got a full time job these days, and encountered another of those slimy disingenuous bastards, I’d punch him in the face and walk away.
      A friend of mine was recently fairly close to retirement.  If he went to meetings, and they started their psuedo-motivating crap , he used to simply get up as though he was going to the toilet, return to his desk and read a book. Who really wants to hear that bullshit ?

    • Al says:

      08:37am | 22/06/12

      Your comment:I’m not sure why this is so hard to understand:
      It is the employers responsibility to provide training or access to training to keep your skills for your current position relevant.
      However, if you are looking at gaining new skills or skills for a different position (i.e. to gain promotion or a new job) then that is the responsibility of the individual, unless specificly directed to do so by the employer.
      So it isn’t solely the responsibility of the employer or employee and who is responsible is also dependent on why the skills and training are being undertaken/acquired.

    • Kipling says:

      08:42am | 22/06/12

      On the other side of course, I have done a wee bit of “personal development” with IT. I use to freely assist colleagues, yet, organisations consistently have IT departments. I pointed out that some of my assistance may well be worth something to the organisation.

      The outcome of this is that now, collegues often have to wait weeks (yep weeks) for the over stressed IT department to get back to them, more often than not with simple fixes.

      Oh and since I do limited hours I made moves to earn a few extras with my additional skills. The company did not want me moonlighting, on this occassion it I am happy to report they did not have a leg to stand on… Bottom line was they either offered me more hours or they could not dictate how I spent my excess spare time. Particularly given I was doing work unrelated to anything they employ me to do.

      I guess the point is, regardless of who foots the bill for the development, all parties need to have a bit of respect for it…

    • Sara Somewhere says:

      11:30am | 22/06/12

      I’ve been this person in every job I’ve had, and I used it to slowly inch my way through more technical admin roles until I finally got a real IT job. So I’m still spending my days telling people how to open Word documents or connect to the WiFi, but at least now it’s what I’m being paid to do.

    • Ted says:

      11:35am | 22/06/12

      Underinvestment by Australian business in IT resources seems to be endemic. I often wonder how much lost productivity and loss of morale is due to poor business investment in IT infrastructure and resources.

    • Condor says:

      09:02am | 22/06/12

      “I’m not just talking about the obvious; that there are no jobs for life. No, I mean it is totally on you to stay relevant. Employers will only ever provide development that helps the organisation at a particular point in time.”

      If this is news or some sort of revelation to anyone then I’m surprised they even have a job. It’s probably some sort of menial thing on an assembly line that’s soon to be shipped off to Asia.

      Of course, they can always blame Jooliar or PhAbbott to make themselves feel better. Or they can blame bankers. Or greedy corporates. Or whatever. Better than taking responsibility for yourself.

    • Jt vic says:

      11:21am | 22/06/12

      You can be the most up to date and highly skilled individual in your company,but the bossess mates who are less skilled will climb the corporate ladder.

    • Realist says:

      01:40pm | 22/06/12

      not true in larger companies but even if it is don’t fight it - become the boss’s ‘mate’ and climb away… If people spent less time pissing and moaning about how unfair it is and found a way to work within the established system then they’d be better off…

    • Zopo says:

      11:36am | 22/06/12

      Ive worked in the prepress, desktop publishing industry for over 15 years , Ive seen the change from a craft / trade to computers and the industry handled the change well. Now you need digital / tv experience knowing the software isnt enough anymore.

      But what employers forget is you still need the background knowledge and experience to use and learn to use the tools well.

    • andrew says:

      11:45am | 22/06/12

      in my organisation the situation frequently comes up where a couple of skilled employees leave and all of a sudden there might only be one or two people that can do a particular task, and suddenly everyone realises “if so and so is off sick, we’re screwed” and this is generally when other staff such as myself are offered training to fill the skills gap. I have never been particuarly career minded and have largely been in a “finished uni, time to relax ” phase for the last 5 years or so. This saw me kicked out the national association for my profession due to me not bothering to complete thier continuing professional development requirements. I’ve just been happy to do whatever the boss wants as long as i get payed each week.

      It’s only really been in the last year with my impending marriage and slight concerns over the company’s financial situation that i’ve felt the need to learn any new skills - including those which i have little interest in but are in high demand.  The reality is though that we have many young female employees who are on the maternity leave carousel as well as some employees nearing retirement age, so the fact that i’ve turned up nearly every day for seven years, got the job done with minimal complaining and have no intention of leaving any time soon makes me a valuable employee.

    • John says:

      11:56am | 22/06/12

      Work is just a means to an end. Get the money, get enough of it then pull out of the work force. If you want to work and squander all your wealth then you are to blame for your 9 - 5 miserable life. Having a job I don’t consider as life, spending your money on unless materialistic trash is not living.

      People should work as means to achieving a goal, to basically get enough wealth to get out of work, then live life. Music, Arts, Philosophy, Travel, I don’t seen any intellectual value or spiritual growth in repetitive depressive jobs cooperate jobs (mindless capitalistic moral dead dark cycle). Just remember the gold rule NEVER Squander, not even 5cents! I’ve come to conclusion I’m happy saving every little cent then spending cents!

    • bloke says:

      12:34pm | 22/06/12

      don’t rely on your job to make you rich

    • John says:

      02:57pm | 22/06/12

      What’s getting rich today? Get millions of people to get themselves into debt to buy your worthless products. World economy that run’s newly on created debt. What happens when debt gets too much? It means a huge crash, huge loss’s. We’re talking people entire savings accounts wiped out over night, 5 to 10 years of savings wiped out over night. People’s wealth wiped out, housing wealth wiped out.

      What we are doing today, buy creating new debt is creating future financial collapse which implies that the current wealth in savings accounts are being used today, but will not be there in the future, those people who have money in the account have faith that their money will be there in future, when in reality it will be not.

      So all this hard work today by people working is all for nothing, as everything they have worked for will be gone.

    • Robert Smissen of Rural SA says:

      12:59am | 23/06/12

      What a whiny lot you are, you sound as though you think the world owes you a living. I turned 60 this year & started a new career in education, you just have to have the will to try

    • Barry Wakelin says:

      11:50am | 23/06/12

      Does anyone know the drop-out rate from university courses and other mainstream training and the reasons - particularly the early years? It seems to me the dream of our hobby being our occupation with our job providing social contact and sustenance is reasonable to live our lives with some meaning. BUT how well do we understand and put it together? And in my opinion we should never rely on our employer - the job opportunity with reasonable orientation is about as much as I expected.


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