Saturday, December 1, 2001

Two-timers will rule

In these uncertain times, the key to staying employable is to acquire new skills and work on alternative careers.
Gautam Chikermane
IT’S NO longer in the realm of idle speculation or caged in the fertile minds of futurists–the age of simultaneous careers is upon us. It’s right here, knocking at your mind’s window, urging you to get going before you’re asked to go. If that sounds alarmist, here’s an eye-opening statistic: the International Labour Organisation estimates that 24 million jobs will be lost worldwide by the end of next year. In your 40s, even if you are safely ensconced in your career, you’ve probably gone as far as you can. As Peter F. Drucker points out in his latest article in The Economist: "A growing number of highly successful knowledge workers of both sexes–business managers, university teachers, museum directors, doctors–‘plateau’ in their 40s. They know they have achieved all they will achieve. If their work is all they have, they are in trouble."
Last month, in the US, I saw the first, most obvious signs of "trouble". During the one month I was there, the big American companies handed hundreds of thousands of workers the pink slip, even as the government did all it could to protect the profits of the very same corporations through a $150 billion bailout package. The story is only slightly different here. When we launched Intelligent Investor in July 1998, industry was in the throes of a recession and pink slips were flying all over the place. When the great dotcom dream soured, we witnessed a replay of the predictable industry response to slowdowns–mass layoffs hiding behind smart euphemisms like restructuring, rationalising, rightsizing...
Column in Outlook Money

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