When I was growing up, I had the privilege of living in a two-income household with parents who spent many years at the same job. Nowadays, most of us are pretty sure that we won't be sitting at the same desk for 40 years, nor will be receive a cheap pen for 20 years of dedicated service.
As it turns out, most American workers change jobs every couple of years. If you work in IT, you'll know this to be very common. Technologies change, as do job requirements, so people are frequently on the move.
What is particularly interesting in this post is a quote from a book by Anya Kamenetz - the aptly-named "Generation Debt" - that highlights how most of us young upstarts are in worse financial shape (and probably physical shape too) than our parents were, comparatively speaking. As a result, as a workplace, we need to re-evaluate how we define "work stability".
With employee-unfriendly obstacles such as outsourcing and at-will employment, many workers will find it tougher to maintain a traditional sense of work stability.
While its almost certain that things will never go back to the good old days, it is certain that we should no longer apply past standards of work stability to the modern workforce.