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‘Tours Of Duty’: Employer-Employee Relationships Redefined

Lifetime employment is over. Maybe it’s time to think of “tours of duty” on the job.

(Victor1558/Flickr)

Ben Casnocha and Chris Yeh say employers and employees are no longer in a relationship of loyalty but one of alliance instead. They argue both parties benefit, even if the relationship isn’t forever. (Victor1558/Flickr)

The old dream, for many, when it came to work:  find a great employer, commit for life, go the distance, retire in style – or at least security.  Today, just talking about that picture will get you the snort reserved for dreamers.  It’s beyond “in tatters.”  For almost everyone, it’s gone.

But what’s the new model, beyond every man, woman and corporation for themselves?  My guests today say think of your working life as “tours of duty.”  Four-year chunks where you and an employer agree on a mission.  And then, most likely, you’re gone.

This hour, On Point:  considering the “tour of duty” work life.

- Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Ben Casnocha, entrepreneur and founder of Comcate, an e-government technology firm. He co-authored “The Start-Up Of You” with Reid Hoffman. (@bencasnocha)

Chris Yeh, entrepreneur and vice president of marketing at PBworks. (@chrisyeh)

Robert Bruner, Dean of the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business Administration. His remarks to the graduating class of 2013 last month stressed the importance of not jumping ship after only a few years with a company.

From Tom’s Reading List

Harvard Business Review: Tours of Duty: The New Employer-Employee Compact – “For most of the 20th century, the compact between employers and employees in the developed world was all about stability…Corporations, for their part, enjoyed employee loyalty and low turnover. Then came globalization and the Information Age. Stability gave way to rapid, unpredictable change. Adaptability and entrepreneurship became key to achieving and sustaining success. These changes demolished the traditional employer-employee compact and its accompanying career escalator in the U.S. private sector; they are in varying degrees of disarray elsewhere.”

Entrepreneur: Methods For Building Employee Loyalty – “Loyal employees are the heart of successful companies. When people feel fulfilled at their jobs, they go above and beyond to help the organization improve. They share expertise, resolve conflicts, suggest improvements, boost morale, help co-workers, conserve resources, and more. ‘Those behaviors make groups and organizations more effective — sales are better, production loss is lower, everything is better,’ says Diane Bergeron, an assistant professor at Case Western’s Weatherhead School of Management in Cleveland.”

The New York Times: Over 50, And Under No Illusions — “For millions of Americans over 50, this isn’t a bad dream —  it’s grim reality. The recession and its aftermath have hit older workers especially hard. People 55 to 64 — an age range when many start to dream of kicking back — are having a particularly hard time finding new jobs. For a vast majority of this cohort, being thrown out of work means months of fruitless searching and soul-crushing rejection.”

Extra: Commencement Address

On May 18, former White House speechwriter Jon Lovett spoke to Pitzer College graduates in Claremont, Calif. about fighting the culture of BS.

At the end of our hour, we’re featuring an excerpt from Lovett’s commencement speech:

Watch his full speech (or read the transcript):

 

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
  • Wm_James_from_Missouri

    Constantly moving to a new place to be employed is expensive, time consuming, and stressful and eats up investment capital. Constantly retraining for new busy work is also wasteful. We have millions unemployed, millions underemployed, and increasing numbers on disability and in prisons. Isn’t it time we move to a 6 hour work day, and modify how overtime and benefits are paid ? Our current attitudes about work have lead to a distortion of reality.

    • margbi

       What retraining? Companies have outsourced their hiring and training practices and potential employees are left to figure it all out. There has to be a better way.

      • PithHelmut

        Yes and if we want a system that is as equal as possible it means we all need to get off our tush’s and get involved in a system that has been designed to favor all not just the few. We can have a simplified system and one that encompasses all people and the environment too. But it cannot be based solely on a profit motive. It has been designed and will be rolled out soon.  This period now is one where we must be prepared to try something new, something that people have been working on for years and have tested but will have a few glitches on the way to full integration. After all, this broken system currently owns the infrastructure. We need to start building a new economic infrastructure and psychology.

    • geraldfnord

      There will always be work, but there don’t have to be jobs. This is hard to believe for some, but consider that at one point serfdom, slavery, and the domestic subservience of women were all considered natural, or at least necessary.

      The good news: increasingly, the things humans can do better than machines are the sort of things that well-fed and secure people do better than harried and frightened people do…the bad news: there are some who prefer the people beneath them in the social order to be as unhappy as possible, they believe in a secular version of the Abominable Fancy as firmly as in a secular version of Calvin’s Elect and Preterite.

    • 2Gary2

       Alan Grayson is introducing a mandatory one week paid vacation for all full time workers.  Please support him.  I want the 4-5 weeks the EU mandates.

  • Gary Kay

    Rule number one: The boss is always right. Rule number two: When the boss is wrong, the boss is still always right.

    America: the decline continues.

    Making life more and more complicated is sheer insanity. But then the lunatics ARE in charge of the insane asylum.

    • PithHelmut

      Breathe. There is little point in scrambling for fibers of a lost system. Let’s build a new one. Plenty of work there. 

  • BOBinRSI

    My whole professional life has been a long string of “tours of duty” building water supplies in far flung places-on remote islands, in refugee camps, next to glaciers. Its not a bad way to make ends meet if don’t mind being considered a tool by your employer, having lousy benefits and continuously looking for work. I’m in my 50′s now and doing this, for sure, is the only way I can get paid. I’m still ok with that but I wish bags of cement would get a little lighter.

    • BHA_in_Vermont

       The problem with this concept is, I’m sure, not lost on you given what you do. The “contractor” comes in, does the job and moves on. When it breaks or needs to be expanded in a few years, no one is around that knows enough about it to do the work. So you just toss the old and start new with another contractor.

  • Shag_Wevera

    A professional lifetime of upheaval and uncertainty.  Perpetual retraining…  So exciting!

    • geraldfnord

      …and so conducive to a more tractable and obedient populace—once people cease being afraid of exposure and starvation and illness and crime, they start to act as if they had _rights_.

    • ToyYoda

      Perpetual retraining has been basically a given in the tech field as far as I can remember.  Almost every day, I’m asked to use/work with/code/extend technology that I’ve never seen before.  So I have to read and become an expert in it, which usually means putting in anywhere from several hours to months becoming an expert.

      What makes it hard is that you know all that work you put in is most likely for nothing, because it’s only particular to the project.  You may never use the hard won knowledge again.

  • jefe68

    What ie being described here is a two class system in the work place. The plebs, who are the subject of the show and upper management and CEO’s who will reek all the benefits as the workers security and benefits shrink. I see a future were corporations will hire mostly contrators, and they will be hired on a contingent basis. Which means in a large economic downturn people employed in this way will not be able to collect unemployment benefits. Health insurance and even SS deductions will shit 100% to the contractor. 

    Great for the bottom line, and not very good for the plebs.
    Bread riots anyone? 

    • Jasoturner

      I think you meant shift.

      I tend to agree that there is an overt transition of power to employers that would have been viewed as distasteful, if not immoral, in earlier times.  Older workers are obviously going to suffer most under this paradigm, while the less experienced but cheaper young workers – earnestly doing their best – will eventually degrade the quality of the work being produced.  I see it all the time in engineering, where the only people doing real field work are the kids just out of school.  Everyone else is either management or laid off.

      • jefe68

        What you are describing here seems an unsustainable path in the long run.

        • Jasoturner

          If by that you mean America cannot sustain her place as an examplar of social mobility, I cannot disagree with you.

          • jefe68

            That and more.

      • 2Gary2

         corp are basically all scum.  What do you expect.  We have a far right and a center right party.  There is no left.

  • DrewInGeorgia

    Mobile Serfdom. yay.

  • ToyYoda

    Staying with an employer for life?  That’s been long gone since the 90′s in the tech field.  Staying with an employer for 3 years was considered long, and that was 10 years ago; forget about 4 year missions!

    Currently, I do contract work, which typically lasts for 6 months to a year, and at the end of the contract they may renew it depending on whether there is work left to do, or if there is any money.I think this is the new trend, and it’s been the new trend in tech for a long time now.  

    I actually like it.  Being able to move about, and see different things and work on a variety of new things which I would not have gotten had I been a “lifer” at some company.

    The drawback is, it’s hard to rise up the corporate ladder if you keep switching about, and it’s hard to commit to long term decisions like buying a house, getting married, having kids because your income and your employment is not as certain.

    One real positive I can see, is that all this hopping around and building a network of contacts is that I am hoping to become an independent consultant/contractor, and cut out the middle man, and truly have my own “business” and make some serious cash.

    • Steve__T

       Good luck!

  • Wahoo_wa

    Yet another wonderful gift from the baby boomer generation.

    • DrewInGeorgia

      It was Saint Ronnie’s gift to the masses.
      Get your facts straight.

      • Wahoo_wa

        Nice try but not buying it.

        • DrewInGeorgia

          You already bought it.
          I’m not selling anything.

          • Wahoo_wa

            Personally I don’t know any 90 year olds currently running companies and defining corporate culture.  Clearly I am just a babe in the woods.  You must be a very wise person.

          • DrewInGeorgia

            Nope, I’m just a fool on a hill.

        • Steve__T

           You don’t know the half of it. The majority of baby boomers are the ones getting the shaft, the pink slips, stolen retirement funds etc. You don’t have to buy it. Just a fact.

          • Wahoo_wa

            Again, most, if not all of the leaders in companies that I have worked for are baby boomers…so ya…the baby boomers have developed the work culture described here.

          • jefe68

            Are you so naive to think that someone your age would not be doing the same or worse?

          • Wahoo_wa

            Nope, but that’s not the point.  The point is that the current economic crisis and work culture is the direct responsibility of the baby boomer generation.  That generation is terribly self-centered, greedy and will totally leech off the following generations after the mess that they have made.  It’s pretty despicable.

          • DrewInGeorgia

            I hate to burst your bubble but we are ALL “self-centered, greedy and will totally leech off the following generations”.

            I agree it’s despicable. It is also Human Nature.

          • jefe68

            Yeah, lets blame a entire generation.

            Buddy you have really dont’ get it do you.

          • Wahoo_wa

            …and yet it was the baby boomer generation that labeled my generation…how the tides have changed.

          • BHA_in_Vermont

             You were weak to start with but this post is quite insulting to the vast majority of  “baby boomers”  that had nothing to do with this “employment” shift. We have worked for decades for companies that promised lifelong employment if desired and a secure retirement in return for quality hard work and loyalty to the company. They now renege, offshore the jobs, hack the retirement bit by bit. 

            Blame Romney’s “job creators” -  “self-centered, greedy and will totally leech” off anyone they can use to make a buck.

          • Wahoo_wa

            …and those people are…wait for it…wait for it…baby boomers!TA DAAAA!!!

    • PithHelmut

      And it will largely be babyboomers who will turn it around. This is what a transition period feels like. 

      • Wahoo_wa

        I highly doubt that.  The baby boomers will be the victims of their own undoing.  Their time is past.  The y will struggle to generate the business they could in their youth but that business will go to younger less greedy professionals in the decades to come.  Sadly my generation will have to slog through what has been done.  We will rebuild the economy…not the baby boomers who destroyed it.

  • William

    This problem will increase with the 10-20 million illegals to soon become citizens or at least allowed to legally work in the USA. 

  • creaker

    And they’re working hard in Washington to make sure you’ll be competing against the entire planet for each of those “tours”. 

  • adks12020

    This is all well and good except for the fact that moving from job to job isn’t easy. Employers right now are in the driver’s seat; they have so many people to choose from that they can afford to be very specific about requirements for hiring.  I just got a graduate degree so I can change careers; that being said, I don’t know about anyone else but I can’t afford to constantly retrain myself for new opportunities and we all know that corporations are putting a lot less into training their employees than they used to.

  • AC

    ? which fields?

  • Jim

    There is no such thing as training and investment in employees. Companies require to overpay and overindulge CEO. therefore, the crumbs are taken away today versus being distributed in the past.

  • creaker

    In the coming age, people who want things like families – or a life of anything other than work – or a living wage, as well as being the best of the best is not going to be hired. Because there will be plenty of folks out there ready to get hired under those conditions.

  • DrewInGeorgia

    Contemporary employers are a reflection of our society.
    The more you give, the more they’ll take.

  • creaker

    high tech migrant workers

  • rightfromwrong

    This is simply “contract work” being positioned as something novel and even progressive.  Not so long ago, you built your career on a series of jobs where you were EMPLOYED (the days of lifelong employment were lost a generation ago btw).  Now, “entrepreneurial” simply means “you, worker, assume the risk of the economic cycle”.  But your guest is doing a nice job disguising this as a wonderful new “relationship” and “opportunity” to be empowered. 

  • DrewInGeorgia

    “What is the result of everyone looking out for themselves?”
    Cannibalism.

  • MadMarkTheCodeWarrior

    I was a migrant software laborer for over two decades. This does not breed a sense of stakeholdership and ownership. This model fails to recognize the value of retaining employees, teams and structure and does not foster the sense of stability that people seek.

  • David___1

    It should be looked at another way.  Companies are comfortable using their employees then throwing them away.  A job is moved out of state because another state uses tax revenues to buy it.  Or it goes offshore because it’s cheaper there.  The pact of taking care of each other is no longer valid.  Employees need to wake up, use the companies back.  Take as much as possible as fast as possible before being kicked to the curb.

    • BHA_in_Vermont

       Only one problem. A generic employee has no ability to “use” the company.

  • PithHelmut

    The profit motivator as the sole basis of an economy is very much itself like employee hours – it only works a small part of the time and even that portion is heading downwards. Mechanization, an aging population, sickness of the workforce will make the traditional work framework moot. We HAVE to come up with another way. And we are.

  • d clark

    Your two guests are tools-tools of the “multinational” world which has been constructed for the express purpose of making the American worker (once the envy of the world) into serfs. These Silicon Valley types are lying. Their model might work but only for the high-power, high-impact professional worker.

  • creaker

    One issue with this is if you fail making a quick transition to the next “tour”, either do to you, or the work market, or whatever, you’ve probably muffed your entire career.

  • BHA_in_Vermont

    Companies today do everything to ensure employees do NOT stay around. The “hook” used to be a good defined benefit retirement and health care plan. “Retirement” now means you stop working for a company after a few years and take your 401K with you to the next job (if you can find one). 

    This “4 year” tour takes it the next step – you won’t be around long enough to get vested in the company’s contribution to the 401K.

    How many years of combined time will people spend looking for their next
    “tour”? I wouldn’t think a company that hired you would want you
    spending their time lining up the next tour.

    And as we have already seen, when you get older, finding a job gets harder.

    Everyone will be a self-employed contractor with zero stability.

  • AC

    i don’t think these guests have jobs….
    theyre trying to sell a book….

  • jefe68

    The new reality is a fake one created by the corporations to lower their expenses. Job for life? I think people want decent wages and benefits.  

  • adks12020

    The basic premise these guests are presenting is only appealing to a small portion of the population. That’s the problem. There are a small number of very driven individuals that want to work, constantly, brand themselves, sell themselves, etc. The rest of us want to work hard for an employer, be paid reasonably for it, and have a decent out of work life that doesn’t require a constant sales pitch. Many of us don’t want our lives to be defined only by work.

  • creaker

    When it comes time for renewal, if your employer knows you’ve limited your work mobility by marrying, starting a family, buying a home, taking care of elder parents, whatever, they’ll know they have you over a barrel when it’s time to talk compensation.

    • BHA_in_Vermont

       No different than the “old way”.

      • creaker

        I think the “new way” would present more opportunities to do the “tight budgets”, “need to cut”, “we need team players ready to give a little more for a little less” talks at renewals.

  • Yar

    What about retirement?  Taking care of the worker in all stages of life.  In a false money economy there is no retirement security.  Take the Patriot Coal example, the company stole the retirements from workers through strategic bankruptcy.  The airlines have done this, now states are attempting to do the same. 

  • DrewInGeorgia

    You say Corporate Employee, I say company property.
    Gotta love semantics.

  • AC

    i’ve been treated very well for my loyalty. very well.

  • JimC25

    This is really a model for a high powered sales force, I am not sure it fits a majority of the work force

    • adks12020

      That’s exactly what I was thinking. It seems like this is great for marketers, sales people, etc. but for many other positions it just doesn’t fit.

  • DeJay79

    This has been my life. I’m 33 and the longest I have been with any employer is 5 years. 

    I love the idea of transparency with the length of employment and the true goals of the employee and employer.

  • Jim

    we have a 3rd world work environment in America versus a 1st class environment in Germany, Sweden, and Norway.

    even Canada treats its employees better than the US.

  • jefe68

    Take people out to lunch once a week?
    What?

    • adks12020

      Seriously. This is ridiculous.

    • AC

      they’re called ‘luncheons’. & they usually are pretty interesting (usually)

      • jefe68

        You must have deep pockets.

        • AC

          no, comapny pays, thank goodness too – sometimes it’s like $80 for rubber chicken :(
          if i paid with my own money, i’d never bother going…

          • jefe68

            That’s not what the guest was talking about.

  • JimC25

    This is really a model for a high powered sales force, I am not sure it fits a majority of the work force

  • olderworker

    The “tour of duty” may be a good plan for high-tech positions, but what about nurses, waitresses, teachers? For these latter jobs, there is something called “institutional memory” which is valuable, and which may lead to better customer service. 

  • PithHelmut

    Employers have always told their workforce to retool, upgrade and innovate. Now it’s their turn. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=144300861 Samantha Kennedy

    what’s the difference between this and being a contract worker? i have been contracting for several years and frankly it has a lot of downsides (no benefits, relationships etc)

    • jefe68

      None.

  • Kyle

    In my experience, employers expect to be able to discard employees whenever necessary, but look on “job hoppers” in a negative way.  They expect the workers to be committed to the company, for as long as the company wants them

    • brettearle

      If the time-limited theory becomes more and more true, employers won’t be able to have it both ways–unless contracts are signed, guaranteeing rights both ways.

  • MadMarkTheCodeWarrior

    You guys live on a very different world! I don’t have an expense account to go out for lunch!

  • AC

    i don’t think this goes for professionals. if you don’t have a core company, you’re really not going to last through many bid negotiations…

  • Sunscreen101

    Good for jobs that are project-based but what about other kinds of work?

  • sig50

    Do these people have working spouses or children who need to be considered?

  • DrewInGeorgia

    Workers are commodities. Patients are consumers.
    What could possibly go wrong?

    • brettearle

      Right.

      Isn’t exquisite when we can be reduced to an SKU number?

  • Bibliodrone

    Huh, when you do real “tours of duty” for the military, there is the understanding of ongoing support and benefits, however flawed (eg. V.A. medical care, the G.I. Bill…) This sounds like all the downsides, the life- and finance- disrupting consequences of a “tour of duty”, with none of the benefits. For the employee, anyway.

    This is about turning everyone into temps. Perhaps if there were any kind of effective safety-net in this country to support the unemployed, the sick, the uninsured, then the life-impact of losing a job would not be so severe for people as it is today.  

    • brettearle

      The problem a number of us have is that we keep expecting the US to maintain a policy that meets our expectations of the American Dream.

      And part of that expectation is the growing misperception, unfortunately, that a reasonable/decent safety net will meet the needs of those who are in desperate circumstances…..situations that, all too often, are through no fault of their own. 

      I think that this expectation, in the future, may be a misdirected one.

      An Adjustment in attitude, regarding these issues, can indeed be daunting.

      Many other people, in many other countries, live with far greater uncertainty.  These non-Americans don’t necessarily need that sort of adjustment in attitude–for better of for worse.

      • Bibliodrone

        Well, it’s up to us as citizens to do something about this, then. U.S. policy is ultimately supposed to reflect the needs and wants of the people (ideally, if not in practice). If the “attitude adjustment” amounts to giving up and hunkering down under the weight of abuse, then yes, we are going to have to live on the scraps from the master’s table. But that’s not the only choice.

        I don’t think the problem is an unrealistic expectation that a safety-net will be there. Most workers are under no illusions on that score. 

        I don’t think most people really want a return to a Dickensian-era society, but the “tour of duty” warriors may keep drinking the kool-aid until the societal decline affects them directly. 

        • brettearle

          My so-called alarmist attitude is sometimes misconstrued as being the comments of a closet GOP.

          That is not true.

          What is true is that History would likely tell us that countries and governments have, in the past, gone through radical and moderate transformations–many of which are negative changes.  [Though certainly not all.]

          And these negative changes are the result of unintended consequences.

          And, so now, how can the US maintain its moral, societal, and financial solvency when we consider such things as:

          The politics and the possible depletion of world Oil supply?

          The increase specter of the Baby Boom Population getting older?

          The Global Economy affecting our own?

          Many of our institutions being under attack for dysfunction and inadequate funding?

          Polarization in Washington?

          The increase in Incivility?

          The growing Plutocracy?

          The still-live Global Jihad?

          The 24/7 News Media Cycle that blows problems far out of proportion?

          The possibility of Rogue Nations acquiring/using nuclear weapons?

          There are so many more problems and challenges now than when we were growing up….when we believed in the kind of  American Dream where we, the people, could more comfortably expect that we, as Americans, could take care of our own.

          I think that people would be blaming the messenger if they found fault with these comments.

          I’d like to know where I’m far off base.

          Maybe I am.  I just don’t think so.  And I do not know where I AM off base.

          How can you EXPECT the safety net to accommodate everyone in the same way as before?

          I think that is unrealistic.

          Nor do I think that my view is a view that is disloyal to liberal Democrats, at all.

          I am trying to be realistic.

          The only way to see a solution is to face the serious problems head on.

          I think many of us are in Denial.

        • 2Gary2

           most Americans want to tax the rich and corporations hard and spread the wealth yet the MF in congress and pres do not do this.  Vote all the MF out.

  • creaker

    Wait until employers agree to start sharing employee information with each other via some enterprising web startup – you won’t need a shiny resume or cover letter, they’ll have your entire work history, what you’re currently doing, how well you’re doing it and how much you’ve made right in front of them.

    • DrewInGeorgia

      Unless they are looking at a false background…

      • creaker

        Like references?

        The more I think about it the more I expect it will happen. There would be a huge market for this – like a credit report, only it’s about your work history.

        • brettearle

          Are you, at all suggesting that this will be lawful?

          Some would be caught–and they would pay dearly.

  • http://www.facebook.com/SHSL15 Sinta Seiber-Lane

    how does this jive with home ownership & a sense of community?

  • OnpointListener20xx

    I think the discussion could be better focused on how to develop workplace skills for employees and better communication between employer and employee. If an employee were a star employee, I don’t think the employer would want to lose the employee and should the employee be laid of due to unfortunate circumstance that employee would have no problem finding a new job. 

    At the same time, employer should clearly communicate their intent for their employees. Don’t make promises that can’t be kept, and leave it up to the employee to decide whether to believe or not. 

  • Yar

    A mentor is not going to invest in a short timer.

  • pgmart

    Hi Tom,

    Great discussion. I agree with the commenters who have
    tagged the authors as lining up worker bees, or wanna-be worker bees, as tools.
    To continue the military analogy of “tour of duty” what happens when we are all
    demobbed ? The proposal is a great deal for employers – guaranteed turnover and
    reset of people on pay scales. It is not a good deal for people who need to
    know where their next mortgage payment is coming from. How old is too old to be
    a “young entrepreneur” ? I am disappointed that young hot shots have not offered
    a solution for an economy employing all workers.

    • brettearle

      To me, some of your examples, above, point both directly and indirectly to reasons as to why the Plutocracy will be getting worse.

  • Steve__T

    We the unknowing,
    led by the unwilling,
    attempt to do the impossible,
    with little or nothing at all.

    Anonymous.

    And when you’ve achieved the impossible your done, and out the door. With little or nothing at all.

  • zzowee

    It’s important to keep in mind that the tour of duty mode is one of several models of employment, which happens to be a trend at the moment.

    It’s particularly well-suited to software and other information professions since new programming languages and products are always coming up. Not so much for operational roles such as HR, or for production-oriented businesses where so much of the organization’s specialized knowledge resides with their employees.

    As an information worker myself I understand I’ll have to keep growing in order to remain current, but it’s a choice I’ve made by choosing my field of work. I take the good with the bad.

    • brettearle

      The way you describe your situation suggests to me that you are quite vulnerable to the whim and mercurial nature of your employer–attitudes, that when combined with your need to acquire new skills, or updated ones, sets up a difficult challenge for negotiation and future advancement.

      • zzowee

        I wouldn’t characterize my employer as mercurial, but I certainly agree with the gist of your statement :-)

        What I was saying is that for better or worse, by choosing to work in software I have to accept the fact that technology changes constantly. That’s the point of producing new software.

  • jefe68

    What is missing from this discussion is healthcare, pensions, unemployment benefits. 

    Single payer would take of the health care problem.  
    How does this effect communities if people do not have any longterm ties to them?

  • Scott Franz

    I can see that Tours of Duty work in software development but I’ve spent my whole career in a cyclical industry.  What about companies processing insurance claims, hospitals treating patients.  What percentage of the job market will be able to adopt this model?

    • BHA_in_Vermont

       I would argue against your first point. Yes, one can write software for any company. But unless the resultant product has a very short expected “life span”, it is HIGHLY inefficient to keep bringing in new people to make enhancements.

      It isn’t plumbing or electrical work where there are standards and a fairly short list of standardized parts that connect together.

      Everyone’s brain works differently, figuring out the thought process and logic by reading through code isn’t the same as walking a length of pipe or checking for continuity. Languages evolve, new ones show up, few if any standards. The bigger the project, the more complicated the logic and interactions. The more likely something unintended will be affected, probably not in a positive way, when the next “tour”ist comes in to work on it.

  • egzoomj

    I imagine the “tour of duty” model will be a part of the equation.  It seems like a good tool for workers who avoid stagnation and who have the talent to meet set medium range goals, but I don’t think this will work for all people or all positions, and I don’t see why it shouldn’t mix in with other carrier models.   

  • Camille Diaz

    I find it interesting that so many people are resistant to this concept since it adds openness to what is already happening. I think it would increase the productiveness of workers. For example, if they signed on for two years, they could focus for at least 1.5 of those two years without worrying about their next job or spending half their time searching for the bigger, better deal. Then when they know their time is coming close to ending they can start thinking about whether they want to stay with that company or look to move on. Plus the company knows what to expect.

    • Bibliodrone

       Camille, I think the problem is that, while this model may work well for some workers, there is the concern that it might be applied more widely, so as to create an even more insecure and potentially exploitative model of employment for everyone.

      Considering eg. the recession, the lack of a good social safety-net, the increasing hours demanded of workers as it is, people find this possibility troubling. Also, as many here have commented, continual employment and financial insecurity makes it harder to commit to other things in life such as starting a family, or just having a life outside of work.

      • Camille Diaz

        Hi Bibliodrone, thanks for the reply! I think I’m just coming at this from the other side. I’ve been working as an independent contractor for the past 10 years. My husband has been working independently for the past eight years. We gave up the concept of finding financial stability in an outside company and determined that we could do better and be happier on our own. We have two children (by choice, not accident) and three years ago we managed to purchase a house. We have more time to spend with our family than we would in a traditional job and overall we are doing well. I agree with you that the lack of security/safety net is quite nerve wracking at times as is the lack of benefits like paid vacation and health care.

        Do you think that if most companies went to the “tour of duty” model that it would become more exploitive than it is today – longer hours, lower paychecks, etc.? I wonder if everyone was using this model companies would be forced to up their game and provide better fringe benefits in hopes of attracting the best employees. I also wonder if this new model might open up a better system of fitting workers to projects. People might be able to sign on to a specific job or project that fits their skill set well without the worry of getting moved onto another project that doesn’t interest them or suit their talents.

        • jefe68

          Do you realize that this could all go South for both of you real fast unless you have a substancial amount of savings. It sounds as if you have broached this issue, but having 6 months or more of savings is a huge amount. In the Boston area I would suspect it would be in the 60k area.

          How has this worked in the economic downturn? 

          As you get older this might not work out so well. Especially after you hit 45.

          • Camille Diaz

            Totally! That is always a fear. We are currently working on building up our savings. Our goal is 50k. We transplanted ourselves from California to Oklahoma to reduce our cost of living and that has helped quite a bit (although the culture shock has been rough). The economic downturn has not hurt us too much. It seems that people always need quality web developers and educators. Our next goal is to start a retirement plan so we don’t have to continue to work full time after our kids graduate from college. We have been consulting with a financial advisor for about a year to make sure we are on track for more stability in the future.

    • BHA_in_Vermont

       So does the “tour” employer have to pay you the last 6 months when you are looking for another job?

      • Camille Diaz

        Haha! Yes, because you still have to do your job. The searching would have to happen in your off hours, just like it does now. The system just provides you with some mental downtime between searches. Alternatively, if you wanted to stay with that employer (and they wanted to keep you) the two of you could negotiate a contract for the next length of time and you could skip the searching process. The “tour of duty” system opens the door for discussion rather than keeping everything secret.

        • Plantiful

          This “touring” model works great when you have multiple companies in the same field.  Start limiting this number, and then opportunities become limited.

          “Downtime between searches”?  Depending on your situation and job function, I really doubt there is any “downtime” between searches when one is looking for that next opportunity, which may or may not be there or even exist.

          Sounds like a lot of unneeded stress and anxiety.

    • jefe68

      So, who pays for health insurance? How much of the burden is on the employee? If it’s 100%, that could get very expensive on the independent market especially if you work in a state that has opted out of the ACA.

      • Camille Diaz

        Yes, I would think some type of a split that would be negotiated at signing.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Joseph-Rice/100000693874282 Joseph Rice

    Will this be an opportunity for older job seekers who are given the impression that they can’t be hired if they are over-qualified because they will leave at first opportunity? Will the “tour of duty” make that excuse irrelevant?

  • http://www.facebook.com/SHSL15 Sinta Seiber-Lane

    so are we saying that the “best employees” are only tour of duty/entrepreneur types?!  I take exception to the idea that long-term employees should be less valued.

  • Fran52

    1.  This sounds like a more sophisticated version of contract employment.  Nothing essentially wrong with that.  But contract employees do not receive benefits from their employers.  What does this new idea mean for benefits packages – especially health insurance?  Having to switch health insurance companies each time you change your job is a big hassle.  Does the argument for disengaging one’s health insurance from the employer go hand-in-hand with this new employment model?  Sounds like Tom has just mentioned this aspect. 

    2.  The architecture profession has always been an insecure one.  You accepted this when you went into it – and you got used to potentially bouncing around in lean times.  You always worked hard.  In the past, however, there was a lot of hypocrisy involved:  your next potential employer usually asked, “why have you bounced around so much?”
    The attitude has changed in the recession – and become more honest about the reality.

  • MadMarkTheCodeWarrior

    Not everyone can be great!
    How does this model address the reality of humanity?

    Now that you’re talking about the nitty gritty, are you not just addressing old fashioned talent management?

    • Bibliodrone

       Indeed, not everyone can be equally “great”, but it’s also true that there are other ways to be “great” than in the narrow fashion defined, here.

    • BHA_in_Vermont

       The “not great” are takers. They serve no purpose (ignoring the services they provide to the “great” and the money they spend on the products made by companies owned by the “great” so the “great” can get rich) and should just go away.

  • joe pereira

    Hi Tom,
        I find this conversation to be a bit naive for two reasons. If I know I’m going to be out of a job in 12 to 18 months, I’m going to be spending quite a bit of my time looking for my next job, while on the job and second, I wonder how willing employers are about paying unemployment, if I don’t find another job in this extremely competitive, high-unemployment environment.

  • Bibliodrone

    “The Tour of Duty model is a high-risk, high-exposure model for the employee”. As was the replacement of the pension with gambling in the stock market. Downside risk is transferred to the worker, while the benefits accrue to employers. Not everyone is a young, hot-shot 80-hour a week entrepeneur, especially in our society as currently structured. Nor should everyone be.

    They say this model applies only to a certain kind of employee, and I can see how it might work well for some people, in some fields. If so, good for them! But this rhetoric about being “high-performing, ambitious, entrepeneurial” could easily be applied as an excuse to treat everyone like temps.

    Retirement accounts were sold in a similar fashion: they were so much better than defined benefits plans, would make us all investors in the Stock Market with more wealth for all. Well, more wealth for some, anyway.

    Want some stability, want to have a life or family outside of work, and a fulfilling career path too? Too bad! You’re an entrepeneurial Free Agent, and don’t you forget it!

    • Jasoturner

      The “Tour of Duty” analogy falls apart in one important way.  Our soldiers get health care benefits.  I’ve got a funny feeling many of these “working warriors” will be on their own in that regard.  Indeed, the Affordable Care Act fits in well with the concept of short term workers who can carry their own insurance as they are moved around from one employer to the next.

      Which makes you wonder why the ACA doesn’t get a little more love from the GOP…

      • brettearle

        Excellent point.

        One of the reasons why part of the ACA is smart and prescient.

  • joe pereira

    Hi Tom, how naive or shortsighted can Corporate America get. If I know that in a year or 18 months, I’m going to be out of a job, I’m going to be spending a good part of my tour of duty looking for another job and if I don’t find another job, how willing will the employer be about paying me unemployment? This is the same short-term-gain folly that has plagued Wall Street.

    • TomK_in_Boston

      The execs don’t care if they can bail with a golden parachute before the crash. If you drastically cut payroll your costs drop immediately but your income drops over time as deterioration of service, quality and morale sets in. So profits rise initially and the execs look good and head off to a nice island with a bonus.

      ps this is also the romney vulture capitalism model for their target companies, ending with sale of the company for whatever value is left.

  • Plantiful

    As I have been thinking about how the nature of employment in this country has been changing, the long term road is to full contract employment:  for corporations, this represents significant savings with no need for benefits, vacation pay, health insurance, 401k matching, unemployment insurance.  For employees:  expensive health insurance, constant fear of looking for that next job, moving, children will be moving constantly losing their friends, job hunting coordination with a spouse… 

    Quite the future if we continue down this path.

    • jefe68

      That was not touched on very much in the show and it seemed to me to be geared towards a 20 to lower end 30 something age demographic with no families or interest in settling.

      • AC

        also it seems geared to admin staff type work or programmers, since so many are independent anyway. I can’t imagine a stable company not having a core team that makes decisions, sets the goals and is trustworthy with confidential material. there are a lot of laws about bidding wars, there’s no way you’d let your best staff go.
        the newest thing that is being discussed are long term salary plateaus & maybe mandatory retirements. we have a lot of older people who have been around forever & their billability is outrageous! (mostly 70s, some in their 80s)
        i think the whole show was bogus – i’m young and i know better. they’re just selling their book because they are unemployable :P

        • Plantiful

           Very true.  The executives would be permanent employees.  The rest.. contract.  Corporations are getting rid of cubical walls to “save space,” which increases dollar per square foot output, as I thought would happen.

          I saw these contract jobs when I got out of college, but they are becoming more mainstream and are for jobs that are getting higher and higher on the ladder.  It is just a matter of time.

    • TomK_in_Boston

      Corporate management are elite troops in the class war. Their behavior makes it ever more clear that corporations are not “people”.

      Re-regulate the corporations and tax them. If they won’t honor the old social compact of recycling profits into the USA via wages, benefits, R&D and reinvestment, then we have to collect them as taxes.

      Meanwhile, an increasing number of young people and older victims of corporate age discrimination are realizing that the only way out from under the MBAs is to start your own company. That can be a great solution, especially since then you don’t live in fear that the next moron from HBS will show up with the latest moronic management theory and make you jump through a whole new set of useless hoops.

      • Plantiful

         Yes, and not everyone can start their own company (requires capital). A successful new product / service needs to be created, and good timing has to be present to survive in the market.

        Even with the current lack of pensions, which have been traded for the 401k, there could be a corporate 401k manager that would be similar to the former pension manager, but I guess that is “another employee” that we do not need.

        Every man, woman, and child for him/herself.

        • http://www.facebook.com/tinakashlaknicolai Tina Kashlak Nicolai

          Like it or not, this is the reality. You CAN have your own business with minimal capital.  The problem is many people became so dependent on corporations and demanded fat salaries.

          Much like flossing your teeth and dental check-ups, you have to maintain daily career care and twice a year resume updates.

          People need to own their development. Period.

  • AC

    maybe i should start my own company and reward loyalty generously, with benefits & good pensions-lets see who ends up with the best workers, & best end product…
    wait, i already work for a company like that!
    these guys are nincompoops if they believe in their own model…

  • JohnAdams_1796

    Ashbrook was taken for a sucker to flog the book and LinkedIn.

  • donniethebrasco

    The new company model -

    We pay you $10,000 per year.

    However, we pay your housing directly.  We have an open bar for after work.  We pay your health insurance.  We max out your 401(k).  The grocery store has food for under $20 for a family of 4 for a week.  You get chits to use at the company restaurant.

    When it comes to paying your student loans, you don’t have to pay a dime because you don’t make enough money.

    • d clark

      The “new company model” is actually the old company model-the model of paternalistic companies. Then it was called “the company store”.

      • http://www.facebook.com/lisa.totin.7 Lisa Totin

        And it was horrendous.  The company owned entire towns, including your house, the school, the stores, and the police.  And if you didn’t like it, where were you going to go?  It’s essentially a communist model, with the company acting as the govt.  Since corporations aren’t people, contrary to some beliefs, it’s a recipe for abuse.  That said, the military uses a similar model — you get a paycheck, housing, at-cost stores, retirement plan, healthcare benefits, etc — except that there are codes of conduct, laws, and reasonable ways out, plus they cycle the decision-makers around every few years, i.e. “tours of duty,” lest one commander entrench himself as emperor.  The military has safeguards; company towns had tyrants. They didn’t end well.

        • hannalee

           Yeah, sounds an awful lot like what life used to be in places like Russia and the other Eastern Bloc countries, when everything was pretty much paid for but your paycheck was insignificant. I had friends over there who lived like that. And of course, the stores were famous for being empty.

  • Trond33

    I think The People need to get organized, much like in the 1980s there were organized boycotts against Aparthite.  We should lead boycotts against the corporations that are the most egregious violators of the “social compact.”  Let them see how well their efficiency gains and padded bottom line feels when consumers are actively boycotting their products.  

    A number of us already do this.  For example, Walmart.  I know a great number of people who refuse to set foot in the place.  

    • AC

      i made my brother return a present for me because he bought it from them. he laughed at first, now he won’t shop there either…

    • http://www.facebook.com/lisa.totin.7 Lisa Totin

      I refuse to buy from Walmart because they have corrupted the concept of the free market by expecting tax dollars (Medicaid, food stamps, public assistance, etc) to provide for their workforce rather than paying appropriate wages and benefits.  They utilized unethical practices, like hiring someone as “part-time” so that they cannot qualify for company-sponsored benefit plans and then continually tell them that they must work beyond their posted shifts, so that the company gets full-time coverage without giving full-time benefits to the employee.  Meanwhile, taxpayers are funding billions (something like $2.B last year, I believe) in benefits to WalMart employees who, by all rights, appear to be owed the benefits from their employer, except that their employer does everything they can to push them onto public benefits instead of paying them fairly.  That bargain on tube socks isn’t such a bargain when you realize how much you’re paying for it in your taxes.  http://www.forbes.com/sites/rickungar/2013/06/03/california-to-wal-mart-enough-no-more-taxpayer-subsidized-profits-for-you/

      • andic_epipedon

        Amen.  Just look at the Forbes list of wealthiest people in the world and you’ll see a whole slew of the Walmart family while their workers have limited benefits.

  • Plantiful

    I spoke with the wife of a hospital pharmacist in California.  This job, surprisingly is only available in 6-month contracts.  They have moved a number of times, and fortunately they have 2-3 contracts lined up in the same area.

    What kind of security is there?  How can you even buy a house, not knowing that you can pay a mortgage next year?

  • Steven Ablondi

    If anyone knows how to contact Katrina from Somerville, Mass., a recent masters degree recipient looking for a job in sustainability, please ask her to see the memelorganics.com website and contact us.

  • ridgehen

    Tour of duty is nothing new to overseas expat teachers.
    3-4-5 years at a school then on to another.
    The problem is that some admin use the old model and expect loyalty.
    Tour of duty feels more authentic. A group of people working together for a goal.

  • ridgehen

    Tour of duty is nothing new to overseas expat teachers.
    3-4-5 years at a school then on to another.
    The problem is that some admin use the old model and expect loyalty.
    Tour of duty feels more authentic. A group of people working together for a goal.

  • ridgehen

    Tour of duty is nothing new to overseas expat teachers.
    3-4-5 years at a school then on to another.
    The problem is that some admin use the old model and expect loyalty.
    Tour of duty feels more authentic. A group of people working together for a goal.

    • hannalee

       The life of an overseas expat teacher is an exercise in balancing on the edge of a razor blade. I think it’s a useful experience in life, but I wouldn’t want to be doing it as a living while expecting my children or trying to buy a house.

  • ridgehen

    Tour of duty insists that the person keep learning, keep active in their field. When a person gets to a new job, they are using the opportunities the job offers to better themselves to be able to take to the next new job.
    Employment is not difficult if the person stays dynamic and curious.

    • andic_epipedon

      I don’t know what bubble you are living in.  I don’t mind the tour of duty mentality.  I have worked under that system before.  However, I’ve been spending thousands of dollars to learn new skills.  And I got my bachelors over a decade ago.  I haven’t seen any new employment opportunities for my effort.  There is always someone out there who has “the right” skills (foreign languages, more software abilities, a slightly different set of science skills, experience discrimination etc.).  I have been a dynamic and curious person my whole life.  

      Something’s obviously wrong with this new system. 

      • http://www.facebook.com/tinakashlaknicolai Tina Kashlak Nicolai

        You have to market yourself Andic_epipedon. Once you see yourself as a brand, service, and take yourself to the internet with a website and serious options, it will happen. 

        You have to market yourself as a business. Not an employee seeking skills. 

        In another 5 years, personal websites will be a baseline for gaining employment. 

      • ridgehen

        School should be paying for your new skills.. or the company..
        No reason to spend out of pocket.
        I guess it depends on the admin in charge.. whether they value the people they have or take a callous attitude and play the “your replaceable card.” Seems most admin are out to pad their resume at the expense of the teachers.
        The system seems like it works when everyone on board values one another and supports the learning journey. No one has the perfect skills..
        Too many times ego gets in the way with this model.

        • hannalee

           Well, that really sounds like a bubble. I would be flabbergasted if someone hired me basically as a contractor and was also willing to pay for further education.

    • hannalee

       Some active and intellectually curious people are completely unvalued and neglected. They don’t necessarily get recognized and “bought.” Maybe, in spite of superior skills, they’re not good at selling themselves, as others have observed. I’ve experienced being sold on someone and later being disappointed. Some people that I expected little of in the beginning have surprised me.

  • DavefromMontpelier

    The speakers talk about how in this form of employment that companies will invest in workers for the short run, when traditionally the best employers have always invested in their employees for the long run.

    They then gave up the game by saying that some companies continue to invest in their employees for the long haul, But they’ve been bought by Warren Buffet and protected from “market forces”. If perhaps the best investor of the last 50 years sees the value and returns from treating employees as assets rather then expenses perhaps the worst market forces are consultants such as these advocating short term profit over long term growth.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1669247079 Karl Henderson

    You asked them if this applied to everyone. Their reply did not explain how it could work for most but rather that they have disdain for those who it is not good for.

    • Figs

      This was my thought exactly. If I remember correctly, it was something about how sure, this model wouldn’t work for everybody, but it’s perfect for people who are awesome.

  • chris bilger

    I began employment in 1976 expecting to work there for 25 to 40 years. I found myself downsized in the mid-90′s, returned to college and even then omniscient professor’s were telling their students this short-term employment was coming.

  • GuestAug27

    In my industry (software engineering), we have had this tour of duty concept for a while. It’s called being a contractor. I have also seen projects fail because contractors basically did not care what happened to the product after they moved on.  This might be OK if you are building a smartphone app that will be obsolete in 6 months.  If the product is a medical device that needs to be maintained and continuously improved for 10 or 15 years, using contractors might be a recipe for disaster.  Similarly, I’d feel better flying in an airplane knowing it was designed by someone who was NOT planning on moving on in another 6 months.

    • jefe68

      Nor built by them either.

  • GuestAug27

    When hearing advice from a Harvard-educated “expert”, I always think of the documentary Inside Job by Charles Ferguson.  It shows how these experts collaborated with Wall Street in bringing us the financial near-collapse of 2008/9 that cost millions of people their jobs and houses.

  • Laurie

    I must say, as a recent graduate (Dec. 2012), I’ve had a horrible time trying to find one of these “lifetime” careers that most of my adult mentors told me I could get after graduation. My jobs in life so far have been no more than 5 years at a time, and I personally can’t see myself staying with any company more than that. I’ve been trained through heavy use of the online social media framework how to constantly engage myself in new information, network, join new groups, etc. Why would my attitude towards my career be any different?  Even at work, I spend my time listening to iTunes U lectures, podcasts, etc. I’m enrolled in evening community college courses, too, just to keep adding to my technical training. What I’ve seen so far, though, is that employers (at least in my area) don’t care as much about college degrees. Instead they’re all about experience: 3 years minimum required, 5 years minimum, etc. This makes it difficult for a new grad to get into a career in the first place. If people are switching jobs around more than in the past, I hope that employers start making these experience requirements more lax. 

    • jefe68

      If you are a recent college grad then I suppose in 2008 you were a high school grad?

      If so, how is that your were working for companies for 5 years? 

      I get the drift of your comment but the math is not adding up unless you where older when you entered college.

      • Laurie

        I graduated HS in 2005. There’s a decreasing amount of people actually able to graduate with a Bach. in 4 years. I began working at age 15, and quickly elevated to retail management positions which allowed me to stay in jobs for many years at a time. Unfortunately, these jobs were just to help pay the bills through college and they are unrelated to my major and future career prospects. So that experience hasn’t been doing me a lot of good at this point :(

        • jefe68

          Thanks for the update. What you are describing is what most people do in college. It’s hard to see how what one does to pay the bills in college relates to a career. I thought that was what internships were for. Paid of course.

    • Michele

       Laurie

      I am a generation ahead of you and I’m not sure who sold you the bill of goods that there are lifetime jobs available but I can tell you that the concept was out the window before I graduated from high school – never mind college.  If you want lifetime employment then start your own business because that’s the only conceivable way to achieve it.  Additionally, working for one company limits one in so many ways. 

      I was up against the same thing two decades ago (ugh!) and I used my work experience in other areas to my advantage instead of having the exact amount of experience required.  If you think you’d be perfect for a job go for it even if you don’t have the number of years experience they are looking for.  If you have the right skills and market yourself properly your initiative will go a long way.  Good Luck.

  • http://www.facebook.com/tinakashlaknicolai Tina Kashlak Nicolai

    Applause gentleman! I listened last evening and was elated to hear your discussion!

    As a 20+ year HR veteran, pink-slipped in 2009, I started my own business. The evolving workforce has been changing since we entered the 21st century, yet many HR practitioners are slow to get on the bus.

    Having relentlessly interviewed over the past 3 years, I can share my first hand experience with the tragedy and triumph of corporate in 2013. Being on the outside looking inward (this time), I have been met by fear-based decision makers to checked out hiring leaders. 

    Our HR community needs to step-up and embrace the future instead of putting their heads in the sand and worrying about their own job loss. 

    Fortunately, I am able to coach my clients and work contracts for progressive companies who are onboard with the Tour of Duty model!

    It is here and it is valuable!

    I am more than happy to help you with more case studies, real world experience from the opposite side of the desk, and the reality from a progressive HR practitioner turned Coach.

    Tina Nicolai
    http://www.ResumeWritersInk.com

    • jefe68

      Thanks for the infomercial.

      • http://www.facebook.com/tinakashlaknicolai Tina Kashlak Nicolai

        Jefe68…why not ask questions to understand vs. making random statements?  

        • andic_epipedon

          Your comment does sound like an infomercial.  I think the more important question is what is your success rate and is it really in the best interest of your clients or are you just a tool for the companies? 

          • http://www.facebook.com/tinakashlaknicolai Tina Kashlak Nicolai

            I am ahead of the curve and operate as most people who have come to realize that corporate longevity is no longer. 

            Longevity tends to lead to lackluster, fear-based leadership and poor performance.

            By operating as the model suggests, I am able to provide companies what they need combined with my expertise.

            I also provide clients one-on-one and B2B successful results.

            Lateral thinking people do well in this environment and are highly adaptable.

            Linear thinking people also do well as they can reinvent using logic.
            The model works. It really depends on how motivated you are and your ability to self-educate.

            Success?? Off the charts! 

          • jefe68

            I rest my case.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1091744903 Tracy Estabrook Boal

    As with all major socio-economic transitions, some people will do very well under this system and many won’t.

    My guess is that extroverts who are highly people-oriented and easily bored, and especially those with no particular desire to put down roots in a particular community, buy homes, or have long-term partners or kids that they might want to keep in a stable environment…they will absolutely thrive.

    Those who are more introverted, don’t do well at hob-knobbing and selling themselves as a commodity, like delving deep into fewer topics, prefer the stability of buying homes and putting down roots with a mate and kids, or feel high levels of anxiety when their jobs and living situation aren’t stable…they will be utterly miserable under this model and my guess is their talents will be underutilized.

    This model will probably be great for corporate profits and percentage of workers who are really suited for this. Probably not great for all-American traditional models of family, community, etc. Interesting.

    • andic_epipedon

      Agreed.  I don’t know what’s worth giving up family and community even if my definition of family and community is not traditional.

  • Michele

    I have been doing this – not calling it a tour of duty – since 1993.  I have worked for several different companies and firms in different sectors of my field.  It has made me very competitive. I always get comments about the depth and breadth of my resume and I get head-hunted a lot (not that every offer turns my head), However, in architecture knowing different types of building, business sectors and dealing with a diverse client base is hugely beneficial to employers. 

    I changed my resume style to a marketing brochure years ago because I market “me”.  I focus on my skills and not just core ones but those ancillary skills always stressing my business and marketing experience – not just my architectural background.  

    With some health insurance options being untethered from employers this seems even more doable.

    • andic_epipedon

      Lucky for you.  Architecture is one of the highest unemployed sectors in the nation.  My breadth of experience is hindering me from getting a job…i.e. experience discrimination.  Based on what I see, I don’t think whether a person has a job in a desirable field is based on the merit of their skills and quality of work.  To be sure, there are a lot of excellent people working today.  My feeling is that there are so many qualified applicants it is definitely about luck and your ability to convince other people you can do the work regardless of whether or not you really can.   

  • andic_epipedon

    Tour of Duty or not it’s time to reinvent Unions for the good of everyone.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1669247079 Karl Henderson

    If you live in medieval England and the only way to get respect is to carry a sword and you want to live in peace with your sword carrying neighbors, what you do is develop a code of conduct and spread it around to everyone. It’s called chivalry.
    It’s a wonderful invention and works great, as long as don’t lose your sword.

  • http://www.revenuearchitects.com/ John Stone III

    I think this is a timely topic. We have essentially designed our business to adapt to this new work model and embrace a highly virtual team/ independent colleague model to work on dynamic client projects. Interesting show.

  • dannymccall

    The Tour of Duty construct would certainly be wonderful for some folks and organizations in certain work roles, … yet this may be equally suboptimal other work relationships.  While the approach has real merit as one model in today’s workplace, I do not believe the construct can be universally applied, due to the uniqueness of each work role, multitudes of organization, professional and industry differences, and of course, wide, endless variances of personal career needs.  

    I totally agree with the authors that work circumstances have radically changed in the last few decades, and for the most part the the “synergistic, industrial paternal organization and loyal employee model” is in the wake of history.  Even greater changes are churning @cshiles:disqus 
      our work. I argue that the key today for both workers and organizations that seek betterment is crafting the correct relationship with each other on a work role specific basis, encompassing each party defining the quality parameters they each seek, choosing each other with precision, then each assuring each dependably realizing that quality, without any assumptions or ambivalence.  (A “work role” being the dynamic architecture for a mutually beneficial relationship, where as a “job description” is just a one-sided, limited, static, largely obsolete, organizational template.)I’ve been researching and advancing better organizing principles and tools for high-quality work relationships for the past two decades.  This has been the pursuit of universally actionable principles and solutions for leaders, workers and supervisors who seek much better rewards from each other. That is, those who are willing to define and seek a “Durable Relationship” comprised of gaining the “quality factors” each party desires across the optimal time span of the relationship (yes, that varies widely, and perhaps this may be a “tour of duty” duration!).  Applying and accomplishing this is not difficult.  In fact, it can be surprisingly simple.  It’s all about getting better in touch with the asymmetrical realities of each party’s needs, then each party responding empathetically and accurately to each other with bilateral accountability, … and having simple, easy and effective “instrumentation” in place to ensure (or remedy) that both are gaining what they require from the relationship. Said another way, it’s about forward-facing RELATIONSHIPS that are based upon well-designed work roles and “bilateral agreement;” versus rearward-facing, one-sided, outdated conventions such as “job descriptions” “performance reviews.”The only thing that continue to confound me is how few people and organizations are actually willing to do the simple things it requires to seek, form and have better relations with each other.  Should anyone want to drink at my fountain:http://www.amazon.com/Works-We-Thing-Danny-McCall/dp/0971812217http://www.rppaq.com/home.htmlhttp://www.relationsresearch.com Thanks for considering my perspective.  Danny

  • ExcellentNews

    If you ever doubted that our country is run by the oligarchy for the oligarchy, doubt no more after this show. The benefit for corporate owners - HUGE. The benefit for “disposable tampon” workers – well, you can update your LinkedIn profile…

    What has really changed is NOT the workplace, but the underlying model of our country. After the catastrophe of the 1930s, America embraced a social democratic model, a true government of the people by the people. The “system” worked so that it maximized the welfare of the majority, and that included how business was ran and how it was regulated. It lasted for 50 years, and produced a degree of prosperity and democracy for the population at large, that had never been seen before in the history of the world.

    We forgot that the opposite of the great American system is not just communism, but any oligarchy. We let the corporate interests slowly undermine it. We let them decide what’s good for the country, and so we got what’s good for them. And here are the results – we are turning into another banana republic, just like the ones we are racing to the bottom against. With 1% owning everything, the rest scrambling for survival – and updating their LinkedIn profiles.

    We have become so docile and accepting of that change, that even a good journalist and thinker like Mr. Ashbrook gives it credible coverage. Shame on you! Expose it for what it is – just another name for the way the rich and powerful have been exploiting those with less – since the world began.

  • Mark Peloquin

    I love it, how do I sign up? 

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Attorney General Eric Holder talks with Capt. Ron Johnson of the Missouri State Highway Patrol at Drake's Place Restaurant, Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2014, in Florrissant, Mo. (AP)

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In this image from video posted on Facebook, courtesy of the George W. Bush Presidential Center, former President George W. Bush participates in the ice bucket challenge with the help of his wife, Laura Bush, in Kennebunkport, Maine. (AP)

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Attorney General Eric Holder talks with Capt. Ron Johnson of the Missouri State Highway Patrol at Drake's Place Restaurant, Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2014, in Florrissant, Mo. (AP)

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