Career management has been described from the consumer and corporate perspective, but it also plays a critical role in the broader context of the global economy. Career management facilitates preparation for dealing with other cultures, languages, work styles and global standards. It helps people understand the intricate relationship between people, education, global work, and employability skills across nations.
Technology, productivity, convenience, new market standards, and customization are some of the most important changes occurring in society. These changes require great adaptation in organizational structures, broader sets of skills in employees, and new career paths. As these changes have become more prevalent, it has become necessary for people to engage with others across global boundaries from their offices, either via telephone or by using one of a host of new social media tools such as Skype. Not only will people need to possess the basic skills required by most organizations, such as writing and math, they will need to be skilled in intercultural communication—valuing and respecting the differences found across nationalities, ethnicities, and languages—as well as in global teamwork. Professionals will need to adjust to changes in career paths, too, as many organizations are either flattening or eliminating various roles. The traditional corporate ladder is giving way to the corporate lattice.
According to the mass career customization (MCC) framework, moving from the corporate ladder to the corporate lattice allows employees to customize their careers the same way they customize computers that are purchased from Dell. Under the MCC principles, employees could “dial up” for a faster or more intense career track by increasing learning experiences, or traveling more when they are younger, when their kids are older, or when their spouse is on a break. Employees could “dial down” for slower career advancement, reduced salary, and restricted opportunities when raising small children or caring for aging parents. By providing this option in a way that is fair and offered companywide [unlike the well-meaning flexible work arrangements (FWAs) that are usually “one-offs”], organizations allow people to customize their careers and remain with the company as their life circumstances change. (Benko & Weisenberg, 2007)