I meet with a lot of people. I am a networker. I speak on networking across the country and get to meet with a variety of different people from lots of places. Networking creates the path in my life journey. Occasionally networking sessions can be more like therapy sessions when people who are adrift are searching for alignment. The New Normal has caused a lot of changes and disruption. Unfortunately, I am not a Yogi. Then there are networking meetings with people who have greater clarity on what defines them and where they stand.
I was talking to a journalist the other day about reinvention and the need for re-creation in today’s journey of lifelong learning. She shared her mother’s formula for success. Her Mom is 90. In her MOM’s world you worked for one company as your career job for the majority of your life and then retired. When I present and ask people today if they will be working for their current employer for the rest of their life, they laugh.
In the new normal I know 28 year olds that are on their 3rd job. I also meet 27 year olds who work but have no meaningful career job.
I met a very successful career driven woman the other day whose measure of success was climbing the corporate ladder and competing in a man’s world. That was her comfort zone. Then her ladder was knocked out from under her and there were no steps to climb. She was adrift. She wanted her ladder back. She had no measure of success in the New Normal.
In the Old Normal the measures were very clear. Promotions, Peer Recognition, Raises, Company Cars, Expenses, larger offices. For many, the office of today is their local Starbucks.
I still remember vividly meeting with somebody during the .com bust. The precursor to the Great Recession. It was probably 2001 or 2002. I met with a person in transition at the place where I was working at the time. She shared what happened to her. I still remember her words. She said she was devastated that she had lost her job. She was clearly defined by her job. Her job was her measure of self worth.
I remembered even then thinking that you aren’t defined by the company you work for. You are defined by your character. That leaves a more lasting impression than your accumulation. So what is your measure of success? How do you define achievement today in a world where there are no gold watches?
Career currency, financial currency, or social currency. Which pays a higher yield in the end?
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