As we head into the final quarter of 2016, the team and I at are already studying the changes and challenges professionals will face in the coming year. The research is making one thing clear: if you want to stay employable in the future, you better take full ownership of your career. Otherwise, it will take ownership of you. Here are the reasons why:

1. A recession is (eventually) coming.

You might not believe it (depending on what news sources you listen to), but our economy has been on the upside for a few years. Recessions are cyclical. Which means, they inevitably come back -- and the warning signs are there that one is approaching. Preparing for this economic shift means knowing your value to employers and determining how to make sure you aren't part of an unexpected layoff or industry collapse.

2. Your professional reputation will be scoured.

As employers continue to ensure they're making good hiring decisions, one hot area of focus is pre-screening candidates on social media. Companies like, now make it possible for an employer to scour your online presence to determine if you may be a questionable hire. They can find that racist tweet from 3,000 tweets ago. Or, see a pattern of destructive behavior (i.e. excessive risk-taking). Like it or not, who you are online is indicative of who you are offline. Employers want to invest in people they trust -- and technology is making it easier for them to do that.

3. Martyrdom is going out of style.

Being a workaholic used to be cool. Bragging about your lack of sleep and the number of hours you logged for the company would guarantee you a raise and promotion. Skipping the gym and making poor food choices meant you were committed to the company. Not anymore. The new trend is to work smarter, and within fewer hours. Employers are focusing on things like practicing mindfulness, taking naps, and optimization of productivity at work. If you can't do everything you do now in 40 hours or less, you'll have trouble convincing top employers to hire you. Additionally, they want to see that you're healthy, happy, and in control of your life. Any signs you aren't focused on being your best physical and mental self indicates you don't know how to do your best work either.

In 2017, get off autopilot and boost your career confidence.

If any of the above concerns you, don't ignore those feelings. Do something before you get hit with a professional curve ball. The answer? Seek resources that can close your gap in knowledge and give you more career confidence. We fear the uncertainty of the "what if" scenario. For example, "What if I get laid off or fired unexpectedly?" Or, "What if my employer finds out I'm a thrill-seeking adrenaline junkie on the weekends?" And even, "What if my skills are getting outdated and my employer could hire someone to do my job for half my salary?" Now's the time to arm yourself with the information and skills needed to improve your interviewing and networking skills. Or, to update your LinkedIn profile or resume and cover letter.

Taking positive measures against the realities above will boost your confidence and increase the amount of professional opportunities available to you. It comes down to being proactive instead of reactive. The team and I at ask you: Which one will you be?