The End of a Job as We Know It | Josh Bersin

Rethink work not as jobs, but as roles?  Sometimes deep skills, sometimes cross-functional, as T-shaped professionals?  Josh Bersin writes:

Jobs are getting more specialized, people work in teams and cross functional boundaries, and success is being redefined by expertise, not span of control.

And people without specialized skills are finding it harder to find work. Seth Godin calls it “the end of the average worker.”  [….]

The End of a Job as We Know It

Many decades ago organizational development experts came up with the concept of “a job” – a functional role which was defined by a set of responsibilities, functional competencies (skills needed to succeed), a job title, level, and career path. These functional roles are institutionalized around the world. We write “job descriptions” when we hire people; we create organization charts which show functional roles in a hierarchy; we have billions of dollars of HR software which manage job competencies, compensation levels, and skills; and we have millions of workers and managers who have been trained to hire, manage, and organize their teams around these pre-defined jobs.

[…] Today, thanks to communications technology, people can do their “jobs” everywhere and anywhere.  We collaborate across the globe just as easily as we can in the same room. People don’t necessarily progress “upward,” but often “sideways” or “deeper” in expertise.

And as a result of this shift, if you let your skills atrophy, you’re dead.  Your employer can likely find those skills elsewhere by hiring a contractor, bidding out work, or finding another internal expert. We have entered a workforce where deep skills are the currency of employment, not just experience.

In our research we call this “the borderless workplace,” a concept which explains how workers work seamlessly with people inside and outside their organization on a continuous basis. And this shift has redefined what a “job” actually is.

“The End of a Job as We Know It” | Josh Bersin | Jan. 30, 2012 | at