The new employment reality from my point of view is that:
1) The fairy tale is over--employees should not expect to work for one employer until they retire;
2) “Job security” is a contradiction in terms; and
3) It’s not as daunting as it seems, if people take proactive measures instead of denying how dramatically things have changed.
Perhaps the one factor that has remained constant in the ever-changing employment arena is that employment-related success is driven first and foremost by the individual.
Employees and prospective employees should accept ownership of their careers by:
- Planning their careers strategically and proactively with their eyes on the business changes that
- Take place globally; and
- Are projected in the industry they choose
and related industries.
LeBron James’ decision to leave the Cleveland Cavaliers illustrates my message and point of view. In the interest of full disclosure,
- I’m not a sports aficionada.
- I’m more familiar with the NBA than any other
professional sports organization, but don’t confuse familiarity with
- I always relied on others to guide my wagers and to tell me when to
- Place a friendly bet,
- Hold my money and talk trash, or
- Walk away without betting a dime or saying
- I haven’t followed the game of basketball in recent years and still don’t.
When LeBron James left the Cleveland Cavaliers for the Miami Heat in July 2010, I became interested, at least tangentially. Even then my interest was limited to the
employment aspect of the controversy.
I consider myself a pragmatic, analytical person. As such, I simply didn’t understand why anyone, except the most stalwart Cavaliers fan, was outraged by LeBron’s decision. Did they forget that the NBA is first and foremost a business?
I get that many people didn’t like the way LeBron announced his decision, but Dan Gilbert, the Cavaliers’ owner, considered James' departure “a shameful display of selfishness and betrayal.” Wow!
As recently as several weeks ago, the ladies of "The View" had an on-air discussion about LeBron's decision. Everyone has their on take on it, but I admire the move figuratively and literally.
Sure, LeBron left Cleveland (to play for Miami for less money) without bringing an NBA championship to that city, but he gave it seven years. We’re not talking about indentured servitude, LeBron made a boat load of money, but he had career goals. He not only wanted to be on a championship team he wants to win the NBA championship for multiple years.
LeBron felt that moving to Miami would give him on the best opportunity to achieve his career goals. He was right. The Miami Heat is the NBA’s 2012 Championship Team. Career goal one…Check!
Given that the NBA is a business, why is it acceptable even expected for owners to trade players, subject only to (if I understand it correctly) contractual and organizational limitations? Why shouldn’t a player like LeBron James manage his career in furtherance of his personal career goals and objectives?
Compare this scenario: A man who worked for a company for 15 years without a promotion filed a complaint through his employer’s complaint procedure. When asked why he thought he should be promoted, he replied that he had been:
- Employed for 17 years;
- Promoted two years after he was hired; and
- A satisfactory performer throughout his years of service.
Notably, he was not the only long-term employee in his department who had been promoted only once.
When asked why he hadn’t looked for other opportunities within the company or at another company after five years without a promotion, he didn’t have a response. It probably never occurred to him that he had other options.
There are several messages to take away from the above scenario.
- First, absent some legal grounds like breach of contract, employees can’t force employers to promote them. The power to promote rests with
- Secondly, while the employee believed he deserved a promotion whatever he was doing workwise was not making his employer reach for his or her wallet.
- It’s likely that the employer didn’t care if the employee resigned.
- Not promoting an employee may be an indication that the employee is expendable.
Admittedly, the average
- Person, like you or me, doesn’t have LeBron’s skills and aren’t as marketable.
- Workplace isn’t the NBA.
All things considered, whose approach will you use as a model for your career, LeBron’s or the other guy’s?
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