Saturday, February 15, 2014

A Five Year Plan, Are you Kidding Me?

A recent encounter with a part - time  office assistant brought about a profound conversation. The death of the 5 Year Plan.
Not just the business plan we used to fret over, the personal 5 year plan. For this individual the loss of employment after 25 years at the same business has brought an uneasy reality of living day to day. She seems upbeat and happy even though her circumstances are difficult. Having put 2 kids through college and a third still going, one wonders how she can get by. To be honest I am not sure, I can only take this at face value, which is an individual happy to be working 20 hrs. a week, and the fact that everyone is healthy in their family. The individual told me a story how at an interview recently the recruiter, who was half their age, asked what they saw themselves doing in 5 years. Tough question, do they really expect an answer that is not total BS? If the recruiter were on my HR team, I would slap them side the head, welcome to the new reality of work.

This is not a unique story, as millions of American workers are facing similar struggles. Thinking Five years out is unrealistic for all of them, meeting monthly bills, health insurance concerns, and just keeping a roof over their head is the main plan...No time frames attached.
 The conversation we had did not last more then 15 minutes, we talked about corporate excess in the late 80's and early nineties (expense accounts, company cars, etc.) and how everyone though they had a job for life...Fast forward 20 years and welcome to the new world of work....Temporary assignments, part - time employment, and uncertainty. The individual mentioned how their company used to have annual 5 year planning meetings and publish a report...suffice to say that business doesn't even exist anymore.
I tell my students 1/2 of what they learn won't even be relevant by the time they graduate. Things are moving so fast. No more keeping up with the Jones. Today its keeping up with technology and the latest phone app....

The new reality a 90 day plan with contingencies....stayed tuned for more on this topic....

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