July 8th, 2013

I just read in the NY Times that they will be having a “workologist” column starting in August.

Having been in the career management profession for over 30 years, I found this new term fascinating.

I will never forget one of the first networking meetings I attended after grad school. It was for the Association for Training and Development (ASTD). As we went around the room introducing ourselves, many gave “slash” titles: such as  “trainer/consultant/career advisor”, or “recruiter/staffing specialist”, or “career counselor/outplacement specialist”. Even now, at professional meetings and in LinkedIn profiles we have multiple professional identifiers.

And historically, we have adapted our professional titles to the needs of the marketplace.  In the early 1900’s we called ourselves vocational counselors. By the 1970’s we became career guidance counselors. And with the inception and growth of the outplacement and talent management industries we have evolved to career/talent management consultants/executive coaches/ career advisors/ career transition guides….quite a mouthful for an “elevator speech”.

I wonder if all of these various identities for our profession confuse people.
Recently, I have experimented with shorter and more accessible ways to answer the casual question: “what do you do,” mainly because I am tired of being asked to clarify with either of these two options: “Oh, are you a head hunter?” or, “Are you a Life-Coach?”

So, maybe we should now try “workologist”…pretty catchy term and might lead to some very interesting discussions!

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