Career, Employment, and Subculture

Subcultures.  We're part of them.  We watch them come and go, persist and die.  We identify with them or avoid them.  We like certain bands, read certain books, play certain games.

We're usually aware of our subcultures when it comes to the "usual" – games, sports, religion, politics, even economics.  I'm wondering, as the results of the Great Recession stumble on, as the world alters, about what kinds of employment subcultures are evolving.

Think of it for a moment.  Your job experiences, your career experiences, define you as much as anything else.  There are people you relate to because of your career, and people you don't get – or are in danger of not getting.

In a world with severe career experiences and divergences what kind of subcultures are evolving?  A few I've thought of are here – what subcultures are ones you belong to?

Long-Term Unemployed – This is a growing subculture, people who've been unemployed for a long time (about 2 years or more).  This also diverges by region, education, age, etc.  I am very concerned that over time people will lose the ability to relate to this subculture.

Stable and Steady – The people who have been at the same job for a long time (in my take over 4 years). These people are probably as mysterious to the average people as the long-term unemployed.  I've seen utter amazement expressed by people over folks who have been at the same job as awhile.  I also think people used to stability may have lost touch with the world of the job search.

Leapers – The flipside of Stable and Steady are people who, voluntarily or not, change jobs a lot.  That's an entirely different world for many as Leapers understand changing jobs and needless to say understand the job search as well.  I think Leapers also have trouble relating to people who don't have such experiences.

Industry Locked – Some people spend so much time in one industry they only understand that industry and related issues.  For some people that's entirely understandable based on their location, profession, and so forth.  However it's way too easy to see everything from the perspective of that industry.  I find it's hard to relate to people who are Industry Locked myself – but I'm not sure there's really an opposite since so many people change industries.

Localized – People who've only worked in a limited location for all or most of their lives.  In an increasingly mobile age, I think there's contrast between the Localized and the Relocators (below).  The odd part about the Localized subcultures is that they contrast with both each other and the Relocators – as they only know their area.

Relocators – The flipside to the Localized people are people who move around a lot career-wise.  It may seem strange to those of us who haven't done this – or known people who do it – but for some relocation is a way of life.

Morhpers – People who have had several careers with little consistency between them.  Some people can completely and utterly rearrange their careers, which may not be easily understandable by those that have done it.

Careerists – People who pursue one career/job or a logical, continuous evolution without sudden changes or total transformation.

I'm sure we can identify other subcultures in careers and employment.  But by making the effort to identify them we can relate to them, understanding how we relate to others, and understand how we may classify ourselves.

So me?  I'm a Careerist.  I'm not enough of any other subculture.  What about you?  Where do you fit in – and how is it changing your perspective?

Steven Savage