Studying for jobs that do not exist yet
My granddad was employed in a small manufacturing company for 40 years and was proudly telling me his career stories until the moment he died. His whole career in the same company, across the two jobs in total, has helped him generate experience and deep expertise which were both highly valued by his employer at that time.
My grand-grandfather was a farmer who worked hard on a small piece of land his whole life. But today, life-long careers almost don’t exist. Neither do the jobs in agriculture and manufacturing industries. So, when I get asked how to choose studies for future careers – there is no simple answer one can give.
The “Future of Work” has arrived and many employees feel uncomfortable about their jobs being taken over by machines. Up to now, I would intuitively say that there is no need for worries as throughout the history, technology was always a net creator of jobs. During the periods when jobs in agriculture, manufacturing and mining were disappearing, new roles in healthcare, financial services and education were developed exponentially. But that shift in some areas was lasting for almost a hundred years, while current technological advances bring the pace of change down to a decade and they affect many industries simultaneously. So, I can’t stop asking myself: “Is automation going to impact our careers differently this time?”
In contrary to my granddad’s example, current employers value curiosity, learning agility and readiness to transition between roles. Therefore, when thinking about future occupations, young people should imagine broad buckets of roles which fall under the umbrella of their core motivation; and then simply be ready to develop new set of skills through-out their career span. This statement may sound overwhelming and discouraging to many, but it will become the new norm we will all have to follow in order to succeed.
A decade ago, work-life balance has become the new hot topic in corporate language. We’ve all realized that we need to take care of our health: sleep enough, eat healthy food and exercise regularly. Building muscles in a gym then was equally painful as it is building resilience today. But the pain with time ceases and clear benefits of the hard work gets visible. So open-up your horizons, grab every opportunity to generate different experiences and be brave enough to experiment. Only then will the formal education be a starting point for life-long learning full of emerging career opportunities.