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Navigating Today's New Career Path

Marty pic

I’ve heard futurists say that today’s young people will change careers seven times throughout their working history. Then they repeat that statement…with the emphasis on the word CAREERS, not jobs...so it can really sink in. It’s something that’s hard to believe! Would an engineer go into sales and then into agriculture and then into music?

The prediction is that the age of company loyalty ‒ or employee loyalty for that matter ‒ is over. For those of us dealing with the “what is,” it’s sometimes difficult to imagine the “what will be.”

Though we may quibble with these predictions, as well as the stereotypical characteristics assigned to various birth years, we can’t escape the fact that the “baby boomer” generation is rapidly departing the workforce. I’ve heard the number quoted as being as many as 10,000 people a day!

In addition to time marching on for the U.S. boomer population, a newly optimistic economy coupled with certain healthcare assurances could also contribute to speedier career reassessments. So maybe these prognosticators are on to something after all: We may be on the verge of some major “musical employment chairs” in the next few years. And filling those vacancies could become a universal problem for every business.

As I’ve mentioned before, Aladdin is a very unique company. Our average job tenure is about 15 years. That may sound crazy to the futurists, but it’s a fact. Aladdin is also a great company. We have the best people in the industry and a desirable workplace environment, locale, opportunity, growth…all things that contribute to employee satisfaction. But even with all these advantages, we know that the future of every organization is determined by the selection, training and cultural assimilation of new employees.

 What characteristics should companies be looking for as we approach what could be the biggest employee turnover in history? Here are a few qualities I believe should be high on the list:  

  • Initiative. Companies put a premium on self-starters. People who look for ways to improve things without being told to, who are self-managed and self-governing, offer employers big advantages.
  • Curiosity. People who ask “why” can generate ideas and create new ways of doing things. These are the types of employees who help reduce costs and invent new products or processes.
  • Resourcefulness. These employees take perceived barriers head-on and work around, over or through them to deliver solutions.
  • Maturity; not necessarily in age, but in attitude. IQ isn’t always as much an indicator of success as EQ (emotional quotient) can be. A good team player who takes constructive criticism and learns from it, and who can confront problems calmly and coolly, is an asset.

Other essential character strengths include honesty, a good work ethic and good communication skills…but the traits and examples of the four just listed can make a significant difference in employees, and companies.

People with these characteristics will provide companies with a competitive advantage whether they stay in one career for life, or change to a new one seven times. So the challenge for companies in the future will be to keep these desirable people on THEIR team by finding ways to provide them with an opportunities to change careers within their organization.

How about a path from manufacturing to customer service to product management? It just might work. In most cases, the highest value is in the person rather than the specific discipline. Of course there’s still room in the world for the “specialist,” but according to the futurists, that will be the exception, with “generalists” leading the way. 

The futurists may be right ‒ but I think I might be right, too. Why? Since 1968, employees with these four characteristics have enabled Aladdin to design and manufacture industry-leading products, and to establish and maintain market leadership. By listening to our customers, really listening… with maturity… and by taking the initiative with curiosity and resourcefulness, we’ve been able to continue to deliver innovative products and services to an ever-changing market. And these are also the people who’ve continued to put you first for almost 50 years, while always striving to continue to make Aladdin…better by degrees.

 Martin A. Rothschild, President

Aladdin Temp-Rite - 250 East Main Street - Hendersonville, TN 37075 - 615-537-3600