My father pressed me to accept the offer of a career with the public service when I finished university. It was the early 80’s. For him, a career with the public service was one for life. His advice reflected both his values and his expectations.
Born in Eastern Europe, my father came to Australia in the late 1940’s as a displaced person. A former Soviet soldier, he lived through the ravages of war, surviving by his wits as millions had. For him, consistent long term employment provided the security he desired more than anything else. What more could his son want?
Today, it appears that long term job tenure is a diminishing expectation. A week ago the ABC reported that the Western Australian government would shed 1,500 jobs. Earlier in the month, Fairfax Media published a report stating that for the first time in 15 years redundancies in 2013-14 had overtaken resignations in the Australian Public Service. I wonder what my Dad would say now if he were alive? For him, a long cherished bastion of security seems as unstable as any other workplace.
Elsewhere we read that on average we can expect between 5-7 career changes in a lifetime. Change seems to be the new constant. This can be particularly tough for some of us who are not really built for change, whatever generation we belong to (I know Gen Y’ers who hate change).
Perhaps our prayer should be that God would help us, on the one hand, to hold lightly our current situation, while on the other hand, still maintaining a focus on excellence in all we do. Indeed, a prayer for wisdom to know how to read the signs around us seems to be essential in our changing world. And we know that God delights to give wisdom to those who ask him.