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January 14, 2022

Work 2.0

By Deirdre McMurdy, Sympatico / MSN Finance

Back in the day, the general expectation when you left school - whether it was high school or university - was that you'd find a job and stick with it. Through your entire career. Until you retired with a cake and a gold watch.

The doors pretty much got blown off those expectations in the recession of the 1990s, when massive corporate layoffs made it clear that length-of-service and loyalty no longer counted for much. For the first time, people had to get their heads around new notions like contract jobs, outsourcing and starting their own enterprises.

Some of that mindset endured when prosperity returned, although many Boomers became increasingly focused on benefits, pensions and staying put. For the younger workers, who's ascent they blocked with their enduring presence, there was more of that hop-scotching about from opportunity to opportunity.

Now, however, no one is exempt from the reversion to juggling several gigs at once, cobbling together a career from a handful of different assignments and deals. With layoffs on the rise, it's likely to stay that way for some time to come: if you don't kill, you don't eat.

It's a challenge to those who already work like that, to have so many high-powered players suddenly adopt that model and enter the competition. It's a challenge for those whoa re used to one employer to hustle for several. And it's a challenge for employers to manage a more nimble, dis-engaged crew.

But it's also a chance for some re-thinking and re-invigoration. After all, nothing focuses the mind like a recession.



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