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Higher Education

Reassess Worn Out Myths about Work

Ines Temple is an opinion columnist for the CEOWORLD magazine

The world of work has changed dramatically, forcing today’s workers to reconsider outdated paradigms and attitudes. Companies today are continually in flux. The further up a person goes on the professional ladder, the less job security that person has.

It’s time to take notice and ask yourself: What’s happening in my industry? How can I prepare to compete? And: What myths should I now abandon?

Reassess your beliefs in regards to several of the long-held myths about work:

Myth 1: Companies are like families. If I do my job well, my job will be secure, and therefore, my future is assured.

Reality: Companies are not families. They cannot ensure a secure job and, even less so, a stable future. Today, the business world is so competitive, globalized, and changing, that companies cannot ensure even their own survival.

Security today doesn’t necessarily come from having a job, but from the ability to get work when and where necessary. You can achieve this by becoming employable — that is, by having the abilities and skills expected of your position, quantifiable achievements and results, a stellar reputation and image, and an active and current contact network.

The executive profile most in demand today is that of an entrepreneur who strives to create value, take risks, and solve problems in order to develop the organization. Nothing sells better than a track record of success and enthusiasm to meet new challenges.

Myth 2: The most qualified or hard-working people get the best jobs.

Reality: Several other factors may be more relevant than job performance, such as key relationships, access to decision-makers, how you’re perceived within the organization, ambition, demonstrated commitment to company objectives, value creation, and profitability. People who exhibit professionalism and present themselves as distinctly ahead of the competition attain the best jobs and promotions.

Myth 3: The company I work for should be responsible for my training.

Reality: Obtaining training and keeping skills up to date is every person’s own responsibility. Keeping your skills current is a major competitive differentiator. Demonstrating needed capabilities and turning them into quantifiable results contribute significantly to each person’s employability.

Myth 4: Not having a job is a sign of professional failure.

Reality: Today, the market is full of capable and successful executives who are temporarily out of a job due to circumstances quite unrelated to their performance.

As businesses and markets change, people can expect to change jobs more and more often, depending on your particular industry. Being out of the market at a given moment of your life doesn’t tarnish your career or discredit your achievements. Moreover, if you’ve proven yourself in several organizations, you’ll likely have an advantage. The danger lies in mistakenly defining your worth by whatever position you hold, instead of acknowledging its transient nature.


Written by: Ines Temple.

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Ines Temple
Ines Temple is president of Lee Hecht Harrison Peru and Chile, the leading career transition and talent-development organizations in both countries, and she has provided outplacement services and HR consulting to executives and other workers throughout the world. She has published over 800 articles and videos on topics such as the new world of work, personal branding and employability. Her book, You, Incorporated: Your Career Is Your Business (Usted S.A.), has been a top bestseller among business books in Peru since 2012 and is now available in English. You can follow her on Linkedin. Ines Temple is an opinion columnist for the CEOWORLD magazine.
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