At the end of the day on Friday we were again reminded about how quickly your job, and potentially your career, can come to an end.  Along with the announcement of a surprising nearly $1 billion loss, Blackberry announced it was laying off 35% of its workforce – that’s 4,500 people.  The news sent Blackberry’s stock plunging 17% for the day. However for those employees who lost their jobs, their income plunged to zero.

Of course we’ve seen this story before, and quite frequently over the last few years.  Mass layoffs of significant portions of a company’s work force and even the sudden shuttering of a business (Hostess, Bears Stearns, Lehman Brothers, WorldCom, Arthur Anderson), where people went home at night believing they had a job to go to the next morning.

These events underscore the inherent risks in the labor market today. It doesn’t matter what company you work for, what industry you are in or what level you are in the organization.  Your job can evaporate in an instant and you need to know how to respond, not react. While standard advice such as maintaining 3 to 6 months of savings and always having your resume ready to are sound advice, it is insufficient for handling the adjustment of losing your job in today’s job market.

Companies also seek to help employees with outplacement services that are often fail to deliver the ultimate successful result – placement in a similar or better job. While outplacement services do offer useful suggestions and help they are ultimately limited in what they can do for you. At the end of the day you are the one sending out your resume and doing the interviews.

What’s wrong with these approaches is that they are based on business cycles of the 20thCentury, in an industrial era where jobs when jobs that were lost in an economic cycle returned as the economy picked up again. In the 21st Century this is no longer true. Jobs that are

lost in an economic cycle are often gone. What brings the economic cycle back is the creating of new jobs in different fields. The consequence is you need a different approach. But where do you turn?

A Career Development Strategy For The 21st Century

How do you plan your career in this turbulent environment of the 21st Century where you seemingly cannot count on a stable business climate?  The answer is that rather than rely your external environment to provide stability and a framework for your career develop you need to look in at yourself for that stability. You need to understand in a very disciplined way what you have to offer the world, develop a strategy for executing on that regardless of the economy and then execute.

One way to do this is to apply the principles and strategies that businesses use to grow and thrive. If you think about it you will see that your career has many of the same characteristics of a business. Businesses sell products and services to consumers and other businesses. As an employee you sell your services to a business. Businesses generate revenue and have expenses. You receive a salary and have expenses. Businesses face competition for sales, market share and growth. You face competition in the job market and for advancement.  Businesses grow through a life cycle and so does your career.  Businesses face a disruptive economic environment that requires them to adapt to remain relevant and generating income. And so do you.

As an individual you have one advantage, the advantage of an entrepreneur, that a business does not have. A business is limited in the areas it can credibly expand its market into.  For example you would not expect to see McDonalds adapt to a changing dining environment by expanding into the health care or construction business. However, if your skills are transferable, you certainly can make a career jump from one field to another.

Eliminate the fear of job loss and fully engage in what you are doing. Take the first step in learning how to develop your career so that you are in control of your own destiny by download a copy of our free e-book – 7 Steps to Career Success in the 21st Century.

BlackBerry slashes staff, warns of nearly $1B loss

BlackBerry to Cut 4,500 Jobs, Will Take Nearly $1 Billion Loss