Jobs vs. Careers in Records Management: Dead Ends and Open Roads?

By Pemberton, J. Michael | Records Management Quarterly, July 1997 | Go to article overview

Jobs vs. Careers in Records Management: Dead Ends and Open Roads?


Pemberton, J. Michael, Records Management Quarterly


If money is your answer to success, you will never have it. The only success a [person] will ever have is a reserve of knowledge, skills, and abilities.

Henry Ford (1928)[1]

Are you worried about your career in records management? Many are and, all too often these days, with good reasons. The general work environment is rife with downsizings, mergers, takeovers, reorganizations, divestments, relocations, outsourcing, and layoffs. Any functions in the organization which do not produce revenue - and that normally includes records management - are automatically in some jeopardy no matter how well run and effective they may be. Also, the rising tide of information technology appears, at least, to be sweeping aside much of records management as we have traditionally understood it. Many of the recordkeeping functions once centralized in records centers and reprographic units are becoming decentralized and being performed by the user at the personal-computer level. The nature of work itself is under siege as the traditional concept of a "jobs" is being eroded by the broader construct of "work." Continuing developments in this direction may lead to the more comprehensive concept "information specialist/manager" overtaking "records manager" and spelling the eventual demise of this information specialization.

Whether or not "records manager" as a concept or term survives in the long run seems less important right now than the survival of those who are records managers caught in the corporate mayhem. I have talked with many of these persons and have read some of their stories on the records management list-serv. Their stress prompts this issue's column. How those persons - including yourself, perhaps - will survive and even thrive is metaphorically related to the very similar problems of survival in our endangered organizations. Like "survivor" organizations, individual survivors will overcome the shock of events like layoffs and outsourcing if, among other things, they can be flexible, adapt to ambiguity, be willing and able to re-define themselves, make careful-strategic choices, be creative, develop networks, be constantly learning and re-educating themselves, stay aware of and alert to changes in the environment, and market themselves aggressively. This is less likely, it seems to me, to happen for those who see themselves as having records management jobs and more likely to happen to those with a career interest in records and information management at the professional level.

Some might suggest that the very idea of a professional career in records management could be a form of oxymoron. Most records managers will freely admit that they either "fell into" or were "pushed into" records management, that they knew virtually nothing about the field before entering it. Not only do these "falling" and "pushing" images conjure up some unflattering impressions and misconceptions about the field, but they might lead us to be concerned as well about the durability and desirability of the field as a career. (My personal view is that while the nature of the field will change, not all records managers will change with it; and many change-resistant records managers will not be able to continue in the field to the ends of their normal work lives.) While this is not the place to resolve all those issues,[2] it is appropriate in a column whose theme is professional issues to consider what one might do, having "fallen into" the field, if the threat of workplace eruptions threaten career security. After all, do you have a records management job or a records management career? There is a difference. If you have a records management career, what kinds of stresses on it might you expect? And what might you do about these stresses?

JOBS VS. CAREERS

As a foundational step to understanding career development and security, let us consider the critical difference between being a professional and being an employee. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Jobs vs. Careers in Records Management: Dead Ends and Open Roads?
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.