"Jobs" have become an obsolete remnant of the old world of work. The new world of work revolves around projects — an ongoing series of assignments that you take on inside one company, or an ever-changing portfolio of assignments that you complete for various clients. Career guru Barbara Moses has developed some principles to help you "project" your interests within a project-driven world. Here are three of them.
Choose or Lose.
Projects are not a force of nature, so don't treat them like the weather — some external variable that must be endured rather than something that can be controlled. You have to take charge of your choices. Ask yourself which projects will give you the best opportunity to learn and which projects will allow you to work with the best people. And then lobby to receive those assignments.
You Can Say No.
Most bosses care about looking good. So they tend to put their most experienced people on their most important project. But career activists want to do new things. Well, it's easier to turn down a project than most people think it is. You may have to reframe the project, or your role in it, but you can usually get more out of it. Of course, if you say no too many times, there might be problems. On the other hand, people who keep saying no usually feel good enough about themselves to know that they can work somewhere else if necessary.
Work today means juggling multiple projects. But that's not an excuse for being late to meetings or for not delivering your part of a project on time. If you're busy, you're not unique — you're just like the rest of us.
A version of this article appeared in the January 1999 issue of Fast Company magazine.