In the spirit of the Seth Godin, Tom Peters piece on YouTube, I'm going to keep this post to the point.
When you think of job skills you usually think of things you can do, like design a book cover or balance a spreadsheet. Those are important and will get you in the door. The keys to longevity, however, are the behavioral skills of coping with an ever-changing post-recessionary business landscape.
1. Adaptability to change - Change once came like an occasional tidal wave every few years and reset the landscape. Now it's like standing on the beach watching wave after wave after wave wash over your feet with no end to the waves on the horizon. You don't stand on the beach and bitch about the waves; don't stand in the office and complain about change. Its the business life you chose.
2. Resiliency in the face of change - Many bright, young talents start strong and burn out or become cynical when they see repeated changes. They blame management for poor planning or impulsiveness, or they just become weary and negative. The ability to stay strong and recognize change as an unrelenting business environment is critical to a long career.
3. Response time - The stakeholders around you are also having to respond rapidly to change. You don't have the luxury of responding tomorrow. With 15 million people out of work, chances are your customers or supervisors can find someone who'll respond quicker.
4. Positive Communications Skills - Get your point of view or progress report or marketing plan out for comment now. With free social media outlets there's no room for hermits in key business positions. Again, if you don't communicate your stakeholders have almost unlimited sources of information and will choose another.
If you want to have a long career, accept constant change and respond quickly and effectively to it. Professional chops and a great education may get you in the door, but it takes nimble, positive handling of change to stay there.