Imagine a simple question. “What do you want to be when you grow up?” And, with every response, you’re told “that job won’t exist in your future.”
Okay, that might be a slight exaggeration. But, only slightly.
Already futurists are predicting my fourth-grade son and those of his generation will have jobs not yet invented. At the wise age of nine, Tucker has been asked and has answered countless questions about his career aspirations many times over. As he’s gotten older, his answers have changed or become much more defined.
Just like us, he’s influenced by his current knowledge and exposure to new technologies. I’ve heard responses ranging from an elf at the North Pole to a veterinarian, a Lego master builder to a Minecraft mod creator or a robotics programmer! What I love is that he’s open to reinvention. He’s willing to change his focus with new information and explore the skills required.
Now, consider yourself and your current world of work.
Think about the constant barrage of news reports: new technologies, new innovations, new automation and rapid obsolescence.
And, for just a bit more doomsday drama, factor in that with each whiz-bang new sparkly taking center stage, many of your current skills shrink in value. One recent report indicated newly acquired skills have a limited shelf life: half as valuable in five years. That’s not surprising when you consider a changing digital landscape, more expansive data sets to guide our decision-making, new ways to recruit, hire, onboard, work and collaborate – now with both remote human and machine teams.
My bet is interpersonal and collaborative skills and critical and strategic thinking will remain important but the need for new skills will also emerge. Indeed, work is changing. Yes, it’s easy to quip about our longing and desire to bring the old jobs “back.” However, in my view it’s critically important to instead focus on bringing humans “forward” to retool, retrain, reinvent, reimagine and bridge any skills gaps to stay competitive.
As consumers, we’re always looking for the next upgrade. To keep up with the future of work, shouldn’t we have a similar focus on our own knowledge and skills to enable an “Improved Self 4.0?” Whether the focus is on preparing future generations or bridging skills to assist with our own personal upgrades, to remain relevant we’ll all have to stay hungry for what’s next. Enter lifelong learning and my personal mantra to:
Keep exploring. Keep questioning. Keep listening. Keep reading. Keep learning.
Good news! Inspiration is everywhere. What follows is a list of publications and sources compiled from across our agency team that serves as their go-to for insight and perspective.
Conversations, conversationalists and hashtags to keep an eye on
- Change is the only constant in an ever-changing world. Organizations must evolve and change, and must bring their employees along.
- It often brings in everything from policy wonks in retraining a workforce, education/skills approach, futurists who are sharing predictions on shared roles between humans and robots, etc. These threads are often immensely helpful as we help think through the disruptions underway now because of the 4thindustrial revolution, digital changes, etc., and what implications that will have for organizations and their workforces now and in the future.
- #ai and #IofT
- Artificial Intelligence and Internet of Things are critical pieces of the landscape. Watch these hashtags for articles and intel regarding robotics, technology, and what’s next.
- Stephane Kasriel, CEO Upwork and co-chair of the World Economic Forum's Global Future Council on Education, Gender and Work.: Twitter @skasriel
- Mindy Kaling, actress, writer and comedian: theconcernsofmindykaling.com
- Seth Godin, author, speaker, thinker: blog at Seth Godin
News Media: Traditional and modern media shape conversations and provide important perspective. Here’s a sampling of publications we follow to provide a broader context of our clients’ industries, our world and market at large.
- New York Times
- Financial Times
- Wall St. Journal
- The Economist
- Local and market-specific news and publications
- Fast Company
- Change Management Review
- Human Capital Institute
- Labor Relations Institute
- The Chronicle of Philanthropy
Blogs and Podcasts:
- Podcast: How I Built This with Guy Raz, NPR
- Podcast: TED radio hour
- Blog: Econsultancy
- Blog: GrowthHackers
- Blog: Smashing Magazine
PR/Marketing Industry Pubs:
- PR Council Smartbrief and PRWeek Breakfast Briefing
- The Holmes Report
- ICCO PR
- Content Marketing Institute
- Convince and Convert
- Moz Blog
- HubSpot Blog
- Jeff Bullas
- Social Media Examiner
Books. Here are a few titles that turned up from our internal poll:
- What Should I Do with My Life? The True Story of People Who Answered the Ultimate Question, by Po Bronson
- 5 Elements of Effective Thinking, by Edward B. Burger
- What Color is Your Parachute?, by Richard N. Bolles
- Leading Through The Turn, by Elise Mitchell
How are you staying sharp? Where do you find inspiration? Post your additions in the comments.