Darlene, my co-founder and I shared these career trends at our recent Community of Practice, My Working Title SUPERHIVE and thought you might just want to know about it too.

#1 Job seeker burnout is now a term.

In our recent collaboration with Wantedly, we’ve learnt that one of the top questions they get from their users is,”What advice do you have for interview / job-seeking burnout?”

Job seeking today is both more simple and more complicated, more transparent and more opaque at the same time.

  • There are more paths, portals and platforms, but we run into what Barry Schwartz calls “Choice Paradox and Paralysis” – With more choices, we feel overwhelmed and end up not making any choice.
  • A job seeker doesn’t know if the entity reading his/her resume is a robot or a human. And whether it is a robot or a human, they have their criteria. For the bots, they look for keywords. For humans, they look for the elusive ‘fit’. And the details of their criteria are not visible to the job seeker.
  • School doesn’t necessarily prepare you for the real world. Many students start thinking about their job search only near graduation.

What you can do:

Start discovering your self, story, situation and formulate your strategy. Be ‘smarter’ about your job search – don’t just apply online blindly. There are better ways. (Stay tuned for our next article with Wantedly).

#2 Companies are less likely to guarantee a career path. This puts increased responsibility on individuals.

With the companies we’re working with and the HR professionals we meet with regularly, this is a fact now: many companies are no longer guaranteeing any career paths.

*GASP*. This is a shock to many.

People are still taking this in. Employees are trying to figure out what they want and how to move ahead. Human Resource Professionals are trying to figure out how to get the employees to understand and drive their own careers.

This is not surprising. The business climate and business model is fast-changing, companies are going through re-structuring, re-organising, right-sizing day after day. How can there be a fixed career path?

From climbing the corporate career ladder, we hear many new career metaphors – jungle gym, rock climbing wall, a bee-hive and a lattice.

What you can do:

Whatever the metaphor, it means individuals have to take greater responsibility for their own growth and career trajectories in the future. If you haven’t, start designing your career. Gain the competencies needed to manage your career (see point #4).

#3 Career Discovery is the new “in” thing for student & employee engagement.

From the Ministry of Education of Singapore to multinational and large local companies, we hear a lot more buzz around the need for Career Discovery.

In the past, jobs were relatively cookie cutter. People worked mostly to survive and put food on the table. People didn’t expect that jobs are meant to be fulfilling or meaningful. Today, with many of our basic needs met, people look to jobs for ‘self-actualisation’. The book “The Sorrows of Work” from The School of Life says that  “… nowadays, most jobs require a high degree of psychological well-being in order to be performed adequately.”

People want to make a difference. People want to do what they like to do. People want to see the impact of their work.

We see schools and companies investing more in this area – students will put in more effort if they are more interested. Employees will be more engaged if they can see their purpose and impact. Unilever anchors their employee engagement with this keyword – Purpose. The company actively encourages employees to discover their personal purpose, and to live it in and out of their working lives.

What you can do:

Take time to play and prototype. Discovery can come via playing and reflecting. Discovery can come from career experiments you make (side hustle, small projects, volunteering etc). ~65% of job titles in the future have not yet even been created – you may just have to make up your own. Discovery is the first step.

#4 Career Design is not about looking for a new job but optimising for success.

According to Nordic Research, the 4 meta-competences one will need for career management are:

  • Self-insight
  • Decision-making competence
  • Possibility competence and
  • Transitional competence

Often people think and actively do something about their careers when they are in crisis – they need to find their first job, they are retrenched, they can’t tolerate their boss anymore etc. By then, people are in panic and stress mode, and their brains are focused on self-preservation, which limits their ability to generate possibilities. Not the best place to be.

You don’t want to be searching for the same job with the same job description if your job is obsolete.

What you can do:

Be proactive. Don’t wait until a crisis hits. Figure out how to develop the 4 competencies especially the 4th one – how can you better handle changes and failures. Create a buffer.

#5 Career Design can be inspirational and data-backed.

“Career” – it is a very loaded word. The process of career management, planning, guidance, growth… can be lonely, murky and difficult. It is not a straight forward journey. There are twists and turns. There are many unknowns, many variables that we can’t control.

Yet, we have a choice. We have a choice to be miserable or a choice to be courageous. Our careers are now a permanent beta. Breathe… and accept this fact.

We can and need to design our lives.

We need stories. Stories of people who are daring to face what’s now and ahead and design their careers. We need motivation, drive, to dream, to influence, to intentionally sow, at the same time let go, have self-compassion and make adjustments.

We need data. We need to stop being stuck at the level of “I don’t know what I want. I don’t know what I want to do.” and move to create career hypotheses, running mini-experiments and validating the data.

What you can do:

Discover what energises and drains you. Seek out people who inspire you (check out Oprah Winfrey’s Masterclass podcast). Start doing something.

Here’s a reading list to get you started:


That’s all from us today at My Working Title, a career design company and movement.

If this resonates with you, you can reach out to us at jaelc@myworkingtitle.xyz or darlene.uy@myworkingtitle.xyz

#careerdesign #careermanagement #career #education #humanresource #employeeengagement #careerconversations

First published on LinkedIn on May 15, 2019