Career Confusion

21st Century Career Management in a Disrupted World

by Tracey Wilen-Daugenti (Author)
©2018 Textbook XII, 188 Pages


Career Confusion explores why there is career confusion in today’s professional world. By examining the sequence of events and transitions that formed the current professional and career landscape, Dr. Tracey Wilen aims to encourage and guide readers to navigate this new job market with tact and gumption. In reviewing prior revolutions in the United States economy and job landscape, insights unfold on how the past has led us all to today, and how we can prepare for the continuing changes that will shape tomorrow. Career Confusion looks at how transitions have created skills gaps, new training requirements for jobs, different requirements for individuals and firm leaders, and myriad effects on education and educators. The book also discusses career planning, talent management, and job pursuit in the modern world with suggestions on what can be done at each stage. Career Confusion is a must-read for students preparing to enter the professional realm, and professionals will find helpful tips and insights that will aid their career trajectory, no matter the industry or experience in their career.

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the author(s)/editor(s)
  • About the book
  • Advance Praise for Career Confusion
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Table of Contents
  • List of Figures
  • Foreword (John P. McGowan)
  • Introduction
  • Section I: Transitions and Continuous Change
  • Chapter 1: The First Industrial Revolution in the United States
  • Chapter 2: The Second Industrial Revolution
  • Chapter 3: The Third Industrial Revolution
  • Chapter 4: The Fourth Industrial Revolution
  • Section II: Forces Impacting Your Career and Employability
  • Chapter 5: How Key Megatrends of Change Impact Organizations and Careers
  • Chapter 6: Talent Shortage and the Skills Gap
  • Chapter 7: Higher Education Prepares Students for Jobs, Careers, and Life
  • Section III: Career Planning—Preparing for Future Jobs and Careers
  • Chapter 8: Shifting Organizations and Talent Management
  • Chapter 9: Where Are the Jobs?
  • Chapter 10: Career Planning for Individuals
  • Notes
  • Section I. Transitions and Continuous Change
  • Chapter 1. The First Industrial Revolution in the United States
  • Impact on Farmers
  • Social Changes
  • Major Breakthroughs Related to Employment
  • Shoes and Tinware
  • Cotton Textiles
  • The Railroad
  • Women and the First Industrial Revolution in the United States
  • The Role of Education
  • Higher Education
  • The Role of Corporations
  • What Happened Next?
  • Trailblazing Leaders of the First Industrial Revolution
  • Notes
  • Chapter 2. The Second Industrial Revolution
  • Railroads and Their Impact
  • Impact on Women
  • The Growth of Big Business
  • The Corporate Revolution
  • The Big Business Debate
  • Transforming American Society
  • Takeaways
  • Notes
  • Chapter 3. The Third Industrial Revolution
  • Introduction
  • Trailblazing Technology Leaders of the Third Industrial Revolution
  • Xerox Corporation
  • IBM
  • Apple, Inc.
  • Microsoft
  • Hewlett and Packard (HP)
  • Cisco Systems, Inc.
  • Oracle Corporation
  • Intel Corporation
  • Motorola
  • World Wide Web
  • Google LLC
  • Amazon.com, Inc.
  • PayPal Holdings, Inc.
  • Facebook
  • Takeaways
  • Tech Employment during the Third Industrial Revolution
  • Dot-com Boom 1990–2000
  • Living the Dot-com Bubble
  • When the Tech Bubble Burst
  • Women in the Digital Workforce
  • Summary
  • Notes
  • Chapter 4. The Fourth Industrial Revolution
  • Introduction
  • What Is the Fourth Industrial Revolution?
  • Implications of the Fourth Industrial Revolution
  • Impact on Industries
  • Impact on Jobs
  • Notes
  • Section II. Forces Impacting Your Career and Employability
  • Chapter 5. How Key Megatrends of Change Impact Organizations and Careers
  • How Increasing Longevity Affects an Aging Workforce
  • Globalization
  • Changing U.S. Family Structure
  • Diversity and Inclusion
  • Notes
  • Chapter 6. Talent Shortage and the Skills Gap
  • What Is the State of Today’s U.S. Job Market?
  • Regional Skills Gaps Have Unique Needs
  • Impact of a Widening Skills Gap
  • Skills in Demand
  • Closing the Skills Gap
  • Practical Skills Strategies to Implement
  • Takeaways
  • Notes
  • Chapter 7. Higher Education Prepares Students for Jobs, Careers, and Life
  • What Is the Purpose of Education?
  • MOOCs Move Along Lifelong Learning
  • Growth of College Career Centers
  • Education–Employer Partnerships
  • Notes
  • Section III. Career Planning—Preparing for Future Jobs and Careers
  • Chapter 8. Shifting Organizations and Talent Management
  • Urgent Need for Talent Management and Development
  • Managers Matter for Employee Productivity
  • Career Management Is Tops
  • Shifting Organizations
  • Hierarchical Organizations
  • Flat Organizations
  • Holacracy
  • Organizations’ Transition to Agility
  • Motivating a Multigenerational Workforce
  • Employee Retention Strategies
  • Notes
  • Chapter 9. Where Are the Jobs?
  • Employment Sectors
  • Where the Jobs Are
  • New Middle Jobs
  • Job Boards
  • Hitting Your Stride
  • Informational Interviews
  • Confused?
  • Future-Proof Your Career Path
  • Notes
  • Chapter 10. Career Planning for Individuals
  • Starting Young for Career Preparation
  • High School and Career Development
  • Career Prepping During College
  • Professionally Yours
  • Managing Your Career Development
  • Encore Careers, Second Acts
  • Career Planning Smarts
  • Notes

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Figure 1.1. Source: ©Cartoon Resource.

Figure 1.2. Source: ©Cartoon Resource.

Figure 2.1. Source: ©Cartoon Resource.

Figure 2.2. Source: ©Cartoon Resource.

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Figure 2.4. Source: ©Cartoon Resource.

Figure 3.1. Source: ©Cartoon Resource.

Figure 3.2. Source: ©Cartoon Resource.

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Figure 4.1. Source: ©Cartoon Resource.

Figure 4.2. Source: ©Cartoon Resource.

Figure 4.3. Source: ©Cartoon Resource.

Figure 5.1. Source: ©Cartoon Resource.

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Figure 6.1. Source: ©Cartoon Resource.

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Figure 7.1. Source: ©Cartoon Resource. ← vii | viii →

Figure 7.2. Source: ©Cartoon Resource.

Figure 7.3. Source: ©Cartoon Resource.

Figure 8.1. Source: ©Cartoon Resource.

Figure 8.2. Source: ©Cartoon Resource.

Figure 8.3. Source: ©Cartoon Resource.

Figure 9.1. Source: ©Cartoon Resource.

Figure 9.2. Source: ©Cartoon Resource.

Figure 9.3. Source: ©Cartoon Resource.

Figure 10.1. Source: ©Cartoon Resource.

Figure 10.2. Source: ©Cartoon Resource.

Figure 10.3. Source: ©Cartoon Resource.

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Tracey Wilen’s Career Confusion: 21st Century Career Management in a Disrupted World will inspire and energize readers. It is written from a historical perspective regarding disruption and evolution beginning with the First Industrial Revolution to the present. Tracey provides examples and commentary with glimpses of the future of artificial intelligence and robotics. This book is well-written and captures readers attention; I found it difficult to stop reading. It engages you as no other book on careers can do. Tracey’s personal touch and injection of her own experiences is very meaningful and relevant. The reader becomes engaged not only in the historical context, but thoughtfully involved in the expansion of one’s vision of the rapidly evolving career paths that will be available to those who become life-long learners. The unusual approach to the career dilemma leads the reader into the fact gathering phase of understanding organizational changes and how careers are influenced by megatrends that globally transform the corporate structure. She also focuses on workplace composition that is made up of different generational levels. This tends to present additional challenges to organizations as cultural differences and work habits are often in conflict. Against this background the author focuses the reader on the need for talent management as organizations change and career paths are altered. It is apparent that the job market ← ix | x → is rapidly changing as the world becomes more digital. As Tracey points out, the career path you may choose today may not be available in the future. You must always be a learner and adjust to change. Career Confusion is a must-read for students and individuals navigating career paths. This book is one of the most enjoyable resources on the topic of career management that I have had the pleasure to read.

| 1 →


The world has changed.

Sue worked for a large corporation that was an industry leader for many years. She felt secure in her job. During her tenure at the firm, small and agile firms opened, new competitors emerged and dominated the industry seemingly overnight. Sue’s management was out of touch with the trends and resisted change. One rainy Monday in her eleventh year at the firm, Sue showed up to work to find the front doors chained closed.

Joe was a senior manager at a large firm. Joe’s responsibility was to train and manage new hires. Joe was too busy with management, training, and administration that he neglected to keep up with technology, the competition, and the market trends, letting his staff do the work. His young team were quick learners, became fast climbers, and were promoted over Joe in a matter of months.

Carol, an individual marketing contributor, celebrated her fiftieth birthday on a three-week well-deserved vacation. While gone, her management hired a younger, technical, inexpensive associate to cover for her. When she returned, there were new processes in place, new initiatives, and she was eventually forced into early retirement. ← 1 | 2 →

Ed climbed the corporate ladder by keeping his nose to the grindstone. While he was working hard, his firm hired a young consulting team who brought in new ideas about work, automation, and technical fluency. Seemingly overnight Ed became irrelevant and considered a legacy.

Jane was a successful customer service representative. She had top ratings for her work as a customer service representative. Unbeknownst to her, one of the clients acquired the firm and her role immediately became redundant.

Allen was in the fifteenth year as the CEO of a large organization. He was externally vibrant and a focused CEO. Internally he was out of touch with his employees whose lives became increasingly complicated. Many employees had partners who worked, shared parenting responsibilities, took care of aging parents, or were raising children as a single parent. The employees demanded that Allen change his HR policies or they would leave and join a competitor who was more accommodating to employee work–life balance needs.

Jennifer was a top student with a 4.0 GPA. From the time she entered as a freshman to her senior year the employment landscape changed. Close to graduation she learned her degree was no longer relevant because hiring firms required new skills, experience, and competencies. She graduated summa cum laude but she was unemployed and had student debt.


XII, 188
ISBN (Softcover)
ISBN (Hardcover)
Publication date
2018 (November)
New York, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Vienna, Oxford, Wien, 2018. XII, 188 pp., 30 b/w ill.

Biographical notes

Tracey Wilen-Daugenti (Author)

Dr. Tracey Wilen is a researcher and speaker on the impact of technology on society, work, and careers. A former visiting scholar at Stanford University, she has held leadership positions at Apple, HP, Cisco Systems, and the Apollo Group. She has been an adjunct professor for Bay Area colleges, teaching classes in business, technology, and women’s workforce topics. Dr. Wilen has authored or co-authored thirteen books, including Digital Disruption (2018), Employed for Life (2014), Women Lead (2013), and Society 3.0 (2012). She has appeared on CNN, Fox, and CBS News, and her work has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, the Chicago Tribune, Forbes, the Los Angeles Times, and USA Today. She is a regular guest on radio and TV shows across the US as an expert contributor. Dr. Wilen was named San Francisco Woman of the Year and honored by the San Francisco Business Times as the Most Influential Woman in Bay Area Business.


Title: Career Confusion
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