Employment Dementia

04/26/2013 01:09 pm ET | Updated Jun 26, 2013

If you have a job today, you're probably dealing with employment dementia. It is a pandemic among employers. As the days go by, they forget what you've accomplished on their behalf and fail to recognize the contribution you've made to their success. You are, in short, a stranger to them.

No one knows the cause of employment dementia, but the leading suspect is change. Every day, employers are confronted with new technology, new competitors, new consumer expectations, new market conditions and new government policies and regulations. Like a jack hammer in an echo chamber, the resulting clamor is inescapable and incessant. It exerts unrelenting pressure on their business operations and imposes a risk to their financial health.

Memory is the victim in such a dynamic and often unpredictable environment. Most employers want to remember what you've done for them in the past, but they can't. They are, instead, compelled to look forward - to assess over and over again what you'll be able to do and how well you'll be able to do it in the ever-new reality before them.

Even more ominous, the pace of this ongoing reassessment is accelerating. The changes imposed on employers crowd ever more rapidly upon them, and the resulting din limits even further their perspective and recall. Not only can't employers remember what you've done for them in the distant past, but more and more, they can't recognize it in the recent past, as well.

How can you protect yourself in the face of such a condition? You have to help your employer be strong by being strong yourself.

Preparing Yourself to Work Strong

Most of us treat our careers the way we treat our health. We assume everything is O.K, until the symptoms tell us otherwise. But, here's the rub: while most physical symptoms are painfully obvious, occupational symptoms are silent killers. You often aren't aware of their existence until they cascade into career cardiac arrest ... or what most of us call unemployment.

So, how do you keep your career strong and vibrant? The same way you do with your physical health. You practice career fitness.

An effective program for building career fitness encompasses seven different developmental areas. They range from pumping up your career cardiovascular system - the heart of your career is your occupational expertise - to strengthening your career circulatory system - your network of professional contacts and relationships.

It's not enough, however, to know what you should do. You must also know how best to perform these activities, and equally as important, how frequently you should do so. If you do the rights things in the wrong way, you won't get the benefit you need. And, if you do the right things in the right way but don't do them frequently enough, you will also fail to fortify your career.

So, the key to building up the strength, reach and endurance of your career - and thus your ability to work strong - is to commit to a rigorous, comprehensive regimen of healthy occupational activities. They will inoculate you from employment dementia and, as a consequence, increase both the paycheck and the satisfaction you bring home from your work.

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