Bob Reich would the be first person to argue that it does not have to be so.Vocational self-expression and market forces are not mutually exclusive.In fact many analysts say we are in what they call a “post-job environment” and I would go further and call it a post-career environment where your acquisition of new skills and your educational flexibility must be rooted in your evolving vocational self-understanding rather than a passive submission to your “right career.” The old career structure which emphasized commitment to one career for life was based on routine production, economies of scale and structural stability.
You found your career track, I would call it a career rut, and stayed in place.
Workers trapped in the early stages of their career lifecycle still seek job security in an environment in which there is no longer any job security for anybody.
The new career structure is one where individuals are active agents in their own career development.
The career process is one which insists that we each construct self-images such as vocational identity that influence our response to the environment.
This identity or vocational self-understanding is developmental in nature, that is, it changes over time in somewhat regular patterns we all share and it is rooted in intrinsic motives (e.g., nurturance, curiosity, achievement) that help guide our career choice and development.
My own life work within career counseling has been to use testing to examine inner originating motives that define the framework of work and play.I think that we must all address work and personality from the perspective of intrinsic satisfaction, a view of vocational identity that focuses on our unique contribution to whatever organization or work we do.The early 1990’s will be characterized by history as the birthdate of what Secretary of Labor Robert B.Reich calls the “anxiety class.” The anxiety class live lives of economic and vocational uncertainty and instability created by a highly competitive and rapidly evolving marketplace which depreciates the job security of every worker who is not growing and changing in response to market forces.Everyone from the entry level trainee to the occupant of the presidential suite is vulnerable.The rise of the anxiety class may mark the end of an era where vocational self-expression was seen to be something of a right or at least a legitimate expectation.