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economic climate
job security
The New Normal And The Motivation To Work
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At the end of last year I was lucky enough to listen to a webinar in which Bill Bartmann was interviewed. The webinar was entitled the “New Normal”. Bartmann argued that we all had to get used to life being very different and things that we had all considered normal in our life, such as jobs, and investments had now changed and we had to get used to the “New Normal”

Among the different points Bartmann made, he argued that people could not expect to spend their working life in the same job, or expect the same sort of job security that hey had experienced in the past. He said that people would find themselves doing jobs they didn’t necessarily like, in fields that they had never previously thought of and perhaps at a level which they felt over-qualified for.

The interviewer who worked with Bartmann said how important it was for people to enjoy their jobs and how lucky they were that they both enjoyed their jobs. Bartmann acknowledged that it was true, they did enjoy their jobs very much, but I was surprised when he said although it was nice to enjoy a job,if you didn’t then that was tough. If you were in a job that you didn’t like you should make the best of it, work hard and move on if possible. He was quite sharp about it and said that people needed to accept this was the ‘new normal’ and getting the job of your dreams or keep swapping jobs just wasn’t an option in the current economic climate.

I thought of this again this week when I read a story about a young woman in the UK who had at the age 23 has walked out on 40 jobs. According to Maria Mercer the young woman in question, it’s not that she hasn’t the motivation to work. Apparently she really wants to but so far she hasn’t found a job that is “challenging enough”. Mercer says that although people may disapprove, she is part of the “Keep Calm and Don’t Carry On” movement who according to her don’t think you should work at a job that you don’t like and you shouldn’t feel guilty about moving on to another.

Now I understand that the motivation to work, is individual but, I think 40 jobs at the age of 23 is bordering on the ridiculous. Mercer says it hasn’t harmed her job prospects so far, but I can’t help feeling that it certainly will do so in the future. Yes, in the past people could walk into jobs and out of them if they didn’t like them, but it’s a long time since that was ‘normal’

The other thing I found worrying is that Ms Mercer clearly expects the firms she works for to provide her with interesting jobs and with the motivation to work. Where is her individual responsibility? She should be looking at a job and seeing what she can learn, what opportunities there are, not leaving after a couple of days or a week. I know many people who have turned seemingly dead-end jobs into a great working opportunity.

In the current economic climate where jobs can be difficult to come by, I can’t help think that Bill Bartmann is right about the ‘new normal’ when it comes to work. People may find they’re not working in their dream job, but that doesn’t mean that they can’t be successful orpersonal satisfaction or opportunities to develop further. The motivation to work and achieve even in jobs that are not your ideal comes from within. Ms Mercer – take note.

Street Talk


I enjoyed your article. I also read an article on the Y generation that Ms. Mercer falls into. The article stated that the Y generation does not feel longevity at a job is what they owe an employer, as long as they show up and get their work done its ok to leave when the time is right. That is something I have not done I stayed when I should have moved a long time ago. I think the new normal is a mind set that says things are so bad that I better not try and improve my life. Anyone who lives life like that is going to feel like they are being held prisoner and maybe we as Americans are beginning to feel that way. Like we have no options. While Mr. Bartman is out giving interviews and doing what he loves he it telling everyone else to suffer. I have a problem with that.

  about 9 years ago

Hi Serena Thanks for your comments. I obviously have a slightly different interpretation of what the new normal it is. I think it is more of an acceptance that the traditions one may have expected in the world of work have changed - but I don't believe that means you shouldn't do anything - I believe it's quite the opposite, it's just the environment that may be harder.. I agree that the Y generation don't believe in longevity and I can understand that - but in the example I used I think 40 jobs at 23 is potentially damaging. But that's just my view and it clearly was working for her.

  about 9 years ago
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