The current business environment is one of volatility and uncertainty and, as a consequence, the modern career is characterized by multiple job changes and, increasingly, repeated episodes of job loss (Kanfer, Wanberg, and Kantrowitz, 2001; Winefield, Montgomery, Gault, Muller, O'Gorman, Reser, and Roland, 2002). According to Mirvis and Hall (1994: 366), these occupational transitions often “seem abrupt, frenzied, and fractious” to the individual. Such insecure employment conditions have increased the need for today's worker to develop effective job-search skills (Wanberg, Glomb, Song, and Sorenson, 2005; Wanberg, Kanfer, and Rotundo, 1999). The new “jobless economy” (Butts, 1997: 111) means that many are now faced with the challenge of maintaining psychological health during the stressful situation of unemployment (Mantler, Matejicek, Matheson, and Anisman, 2005; Vansteenkiste, Lens, De Witte, and Feather, 2005; Waters, 2007).
Under these insecure employment conditions, the concept of “protean career attitude” has emerged as a potential enabler of career success (MacDermid, Lee, Buck, and Williams, 2001; McDonald, Brown, and Bradley, 2005). Hall (2004: 4) defines a protean career as “one in which the person, not the organization, is in charge,” where “the core values are freedom and growth.”
Whilst the role of protean career attitude has not yet been considered by job loss researchers, a protean career attitude may be extremely useful during unemployment.