We learn from a young age that if we work hard and keep our heads down, we will earn increasing responsibilities and pay. That used to be true when businesses felt a greater responsibility to nurture and grow their employees. But now that everything is in service to the short-term bottom line for stockholders, the rules have changed.
The world of work has changed. Few people graduate, climb onto the career ladder, then climb off decades later from a higher rung with a golden retirement watch. Most people work for many companies, in many industries, and under many different terms during the course of their careers.
Golden watch pathways have been replaced by lower pay jobs and less opportunities for career growth. Others have been broken down into small chunks of contract work. This puts people at constant risk of stagnating or even sliding backward. The middle class is shrinking, and no one is immune.
All of this means that ordinary people are able - and really, required – to shape their own career pathways.