I'm serious. If you love your job as it is, don't read this post because it's going to providesome important truths that you probably don't want to hear. So if you love your job, stop reading this post now.
Since you're continuing to read, I'll assume that either 1) you don't love your job or 2) you love your job but aren't afraid of the truth, even if it might threaten your assumptions. With that proviso, here's the truth about what's happening in the business world.
1. You don't have a career... and that's a good thing.
The concept of a "having a career" implies that you'll work in the same industry or company for a number of years, while climbing the ladder to greater levels of pay and responsibility.
Such jobs are rapidly disappearing. Entire industries are crumbling. Companies that formerly were havens of stability are scrambling to outsource everything possible. Nothing is constant except the acceleration of the pace of change.
So if you're still think you've got a career, you've got another think coming. Remaining successful today and in the future is like crossing a river on blocks of ice. You need to jump before each block sinks. Miss your mark and it's "Hello, McJob!"
If that sounds awful, it shouldn't. Back in the day, people who had a "career" often grew to hate their jobs. But they stuck with them because it was virtually impossible to change careers without going back to square one.
That's no longer the case. Today, if can articulate how you'll add value, you can land yourself just about anywhere. And since there's no longer any job security, the downside risk to trying new things has never been so low.
2. You must learn to sell... and that's a good thing.
Before explaining this truth, I must clarify the term "sell." Selling is the process of setting up situations where money (or its equivalent) changes hands. There are dozens of ways to create that exchange, but they all add up to the same thing: selling.
With that definition in mind, it should be obvious that in the business world everyone sells. In the past, however, most people only needed to sell when interviewing for a job, asking for a raise, or trying to win a budget for a pet project.
Today, it's different. Today, if you are not constantly (meaning weekly or even daily) selling the fact that your efforts are worth the money you're receiving, you'll be out on your ear in no time all.
Because of this, you can't afford to rest on your laurels or to pretend that people will notice if you do a good job. Everyone else is way too busy--selling themselves and their ideas--to do your selling for you.
Fortunately, learning to sell is actually quite easy. It's not about high-stakes sales pitches, "Always Be Closing" or any of that melodramatic bullsh*t. Selling simply means 1) knowing your value, 2) being able to articulate it and 3) negotiating the terms.
Why is learning to sell a good thing? Simple. Once you learn the basics, you'll have a skill that help you get whatever you want out of your working life, from funding for your business idea to the dream job you never thought you'd land.
3. Nobody is in control... and that's a good thing.
Unless you're living under a rock, you've probably heard about "disruptive innovation," the concept that innovative companies can use new technology to displace companies whose profits are tied to an earlier technology.
While it seems to describe what's happening all around us, the term "disruptive innovation" is profoundly misleading because it implies that the companies doing the innovating are also creating the disruption. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Despite what you might like to believe, things are changing too fast for anybody to know what's coming next or where we'll be in five years. Nobody. Our civilization is treading on entirely new ground; it's only after the fact that winners look so smart.
Don't look to governments, economists, pundits, executives or entrepreneurs for a roadmap to the future. They're as clueless as everyone else. Over the past decade, all have been blindsided, multiple times, by this earthquake of change.
And that's a good thing, too, because when it comes to figuring out where there's big money to be made, your guess is as good as anyone else's. That's why this is the best time in history to start your own business and do what you love.
So what the heck are you waiting for?