It’s obvious that the traditional paradigms we think of in terms of careers no longer apply – go to college, get a job, retire at 65, then enjoy leisure time for a few years. Now, people are living longer than they were when Social Security began, and one of the largest population cohorts in our nation’s history is at retirement age. Our economy has grown slowly, and hasn’t created enough jobs to employ all of those entering the workforce, let alone those who want to stay in it or rejoin.
No one really knows where things are headed, except that things have to change. The current burden of spending on pensions (both public and private) and the cost of medical care for aging members of the population is unsustainable. As a nation, by taking no action, we are choosing to support the needs of older members of our population at the expense of younger members.
In the workplace things will also need to change, to accommodate changes in how and when people will work. Perhaps there will be a move towards mixed-age work groups, to take advantage of a diversity of skill sets. There is definitely a move towards more contract work and shorter tenures in any given job.
If I had a crystal ball and knew what the new norms will be, I’d figure out how to capitalize on it. Not knowing, I’m stuck in the mode of trying to compete for a job in a less than optimal environment, along with many others.