According to management trainer Nella Barkley, nobody should let downsizing and other management approaches fool them into believing that good work, leading to a good life, is a remote possibility. That goal may seem far- fetched at a time when many of those in employment are so swamped by the job that they constantly work overtime just to keep pace. As Ms Barkley accepts, "for them and for millions of unemployed and about-to-be-unemployed, the issue of liking one's job is subordinate to having a job at all".
Yet settling for work you feel "lucky" to get, or making the best of what you have, can be more dangerous than striking out for something you want to do.
With organisations increasingly interested in performance, those that are just bumbling along are probably at greatest risk of losing their jobs.
And - even though "downsizing" appears to be past its heyday - organisations are not going to get bigger. Which leads to opportunities for those who are happy to act on the fringes, for instance, as consultants, presumably like Ms Barkley, or even at the heart of things - provided they share the organisation's values and are effective.
To make the most of these chances, they have to change their approach and "get in touch with their own interests, values and passions - before looking for a job".
Not coincidentally, Ms Barkley has a system that those interested can use to help them through the process. Pioneered by John Crystal, who founded the Crystal-Barkley Corporation with her in New York in 1981, it is now set out in a book, The Crystal-Barkley Guide to Taking Charge of Your Career (Workman Press). It is based on three questions: Who am I? Where am I going? and How do I get there?
The idea is that by answering the first two, the job seeker - who may be any age but is most likely to be just starting out - discovers his or her own skills and values and combines these with interests to form a "goal statement". Then they can synthesise the results of these activities into a clear plan of action that will guide them for the rest of their life and set about convincing employers that they can solve problems, create products and bring in revenue, so as to make themselves indispensable.
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