There is general agreement today that
a. the occupational world is changing rapidly faster than ever before (driven by developments such as Work 4.0 (Salimi, 2015));
b. work security offered by firm and stable work-related structures is disappearing fast in multiple contexts;
c. the world of work and its environment no longer provides the sense of security that characterised it for many decades;
d. negotiating and obtaining life-long agreements with one employer is becoming a rarity;
e. negotiating and obtaining short- and sometimes medium-term work-related assignments are becoming the new normal; and
f. instead of focusing on finding work, the emphasis has shifted to lifelong learning and becoming employable so that workers can manage change and deal with repeated transitions in the workplace more satisfactorily.
Sweeping industrial improvements, many of which stem from the growing need to distribute information across the globe with ever-increasing speed and efficiency, have prompted fundamental changes in the occupational world. Consequently, in the 21st century, workers repeatedly face work-related transitions in their career-lives that must be navigated. Career counselling theory, research and practice are obliged to respond timeously and appropriately because we as career counsellors must devise novel ways to help workers cope with and make the most of these transitions. The language of our discourse has followed suit by articulating innovative terminology to describe what is happening in an effort to regain some ‘control’ over a state of affairs that many have described as soaring out of control. The creation of a host of new terms and expressions designed specifically to describe changes in the workplace pay testimony to this assertion. This includes terms such as:
a. ‘customised careers’ (many employees today customise their career portfolios in line with their own needs rather than those of their employers) (Benko & Weisberg, 2007);
b. ‘kaleidoscopic careers’ (careers that are created on one’s own terms and defined by one’s own values, choices, and preferences) (Mainiero & Sullivan, 2005);
c. ‘post-industrial careers’ (terms that convey the idea that ‘stable’ work identities are disappearing fast and that workers outside of ‘traditional’ work agreements with corporations) (Arthur & Rousseau, 1996);
e. ‘portfolio careers’ (terms that convey the idea that employees’ skills are contracted in various contexts today and that the emphasis is shifting towards self-employment agreements) (Handy, 1995);
f. ‘protean careers’ (from the Greek God ‘Proteus’; terms that convey the idea workers must repeatedly find ways to remain career resilient to be able to deal with the influence of innovative new hi-tech and other new developments in the occupational world on their career-lives) (Hall, 1996);
g. the disappearance of ‘standard’ jobs (Savickas, 2007);
h. ‘hourglass economies’ (Campbell, Baldwin, Johnson, Chapman, Upton & Watson, 2001); and
i. ‘boundaryless careers’ (terms that suggest that the future labour force will increasingly become fragmented and segmented and that global and local economies will progressively exhibit an hourglass shape) (Moynagh & Worsley, 2005).