An important question to consider, especially in today’s labour market.

“Long-term exclusive employment in one job, for one employer or in a particular occupation or industry is now less common than 30 years ago. Fewer New Zealanders are involved in full-time, ongoing employment and a variety of non-standard forms of employment [such as part time, casual, contract, portfolio] are now much more apparent amongst the paid workforce. This is likely to continue…” Our Futures Te Pae Tāwhiti – The 2013 census and New Zealand’s changing population

In a meeting I attended this week one of the authors of this review, Professor Paul Spoonley, commented that only 1/3 of the work force are in ‘standard’ work and that 10% of the workforce are in what is called portfolio careers – working in 2 or more jobs.

I’ve been aware of these trends for a while now but it got me thinking about how I would cope in a non-standard work environment, having been in a standard one for more than 4 years now. I’ve certainly had several experiences being a non-standard worker from working part time, working in full time contract positions, and working 2 jobs at once. I did enjoy the flexibility but I’ve always seen a ‘proper’ job as being full time and permanent. Those jobs felt like I was simply ‘marking time’.

I think it’s ok to feel like that, we are all different in what work environment we prefer. While I may prefer a full time, permanent position I also feel it’s essential to be flexible, open to change and aware of your transferrable skills. So, if I had to go back to a non-standard work environment yes I’d be worried for a while but because I’m flexible, versatile and open to change I think I’d relish the opportunity to re-invent myself. I’m also aware of my skill set which is broad and varied, and how to market myself to several employers who might be looking for those skills. I don’t need to be dependent on one employer hiring me. Maybe I won’t ever be in this position but it’s sensible to be aware.

My piece of advice to you is be the same. Consider that your ideal work environment could be different to your family and your friends, be open to exploring what is right for you, be flexible and versatile and be aware of your skills and your interests.

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Advice, Looking for work, Opinion, Personal development


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