It’s important for me to keep up to date with changes in the workplace. I can’t help clients make career decisions or offer 21st Century Careers Advice without taking account of the broader context.
Back when I was an Assistant Director with Royal Mail, we did ‘due diligence’ we considered scenarios, we were cognisant of the wider world.
My latest reading to help with 21st Century Careers Advice is from an extract I’ve read of the book 21 Lessons for the 21st Century. The extract got me thinking, confirming much of what I’m discussing with clients and looking broader to how children best learn. I’ve picked out what I see as relevant to my client base here and do read the article for a deeper dive into the topic.
21st Century Careers Advice: Reinvention
We can’t focus on the past, with the pace of change, what we know may no longer be relevant. Our work may be done by AI in the future, so we need to decide what to do next and who to be.
As a psychologist I help people to understand who they are. I regularly discuss how the world of work will change so you need to understand who you are, so you can best adapt to a job, or apply for another one.
You may need to reinvent yourself, and probably a gradual approach is the best way. Pay attention to changes in the workplace that may affect you. Not just in your company but taking a broader view. See if you can adapt as you go.
21st Century Careers Advice: Learn more
No longer can you rest on a qualification gained 20 or more years ago. Just like computer programmers you need to keep current – maybe now you need to understand Git-hub. You won’t make a great impression at interview, or best serve the public if you have dated knowledge.
It’s also about having good life skills – being able to communicate well, to collaborate with others and to have good critical thinking skills. For many it’s also about being creative, and learning creativity tools to help if it is not something that comes natural to you.
It’s no longer cramming our heads with facts, there is plenty of information out there. With the plethora of ‘fake news’ it’s being more discerning in our understanding of what we read and to check out sources.
21st Century Careers Advice: Embrace Change
You’ve got to want to do this. Too many, are not interested, and it shows. They don’t want change, they would prefer things to stay as they were. But we live in a changing world. Earlier I’d said about adapting and if you can adapt to change it’s less of a radical move.
I can understand the reluctance to embrace change, especially when we have already lived and worked a lot. You’ve done it so many times before and were ready for a rest and to focus on what you know. Especially if this knowledge has taken a long time to gain, do you really want to start afresh?
But if change is coming, you need to be ready. With changes you need to adapt, and the best way to adapt is by understanding who you are (to include how you will best deal with change) so you can take advantage of opportunities.
Change will not be just in the work place but your wider life too. How will society change over the coming decades? How will you respond to the constant technological changes and when intelligent machines are doing much that was done by people.
21st Century Careers Advice: Personal development
You are going to need mental flexibility and emotional stability. You will have to let go of things that have served you well and be resilient for these changes. The changes are not just for you, but for your children too. And you can’t teach resilience, you must learn it through experience.
Understand you – your strengths, your challenges. How you deal with change, how you respond to upsets. Use this to be the best person you can be in life. Use this as you come to transitions and need to make changes. And if you need help in finding out who you are we could talk about how I can be of help.
21st Century Careers Advice: Be careful of technology
I liked this point – technology can help us to get what we want, but if we don’t know what we want then technology can take control of our lives. How much time is sucked away on looking at other peoples lives on social media when you could be learning and having a life yourself. Too many people are controlled by technology – you see them oblivious to their surroundings, and other people as they focus on their smart phone.
Knowing ourselves includes knowing that some of what we think is not the truth but influenced by advertisements, and government propaganda, so back to the importance of being careful to question and not just accept what we read. We need to think carefully about what our views are, to listen to others, to have real conversations. Otherwise you will be espousing the propaganda you have been fed.
For thousands of years, philosophers and prophets have urged people to know themselves. But this advice was never more urgent than in the 21st century, because unlike in the days of Laozi or Socrates, now you have serious competition. Coca-Cola, Amazon, Baidu and the government are all racing to hack you. Not your smartphone, not your computer, and not your bank account – they are in a race to hack you, and your organic operating system. You might have heard that we are living in the era of hacking computers, but that’s hardly half the truth. In fact, we are living in the era of hacking humans.
We wear technology and let too many organisations learn too much of us in exchange for points on our loyalty card and the ease of online shopping. But the more they know us the more they can control us.
This article was inspired by Yuval Noah Harari’s 21 Lessons for the 21st Century (Vintage Digital), published on August 30 and read an extract here.