What are we teaching the children?
In the ever changing job market landscape, it’s becoming more apparent that careers are no longer full working lifetime commitments. Over 10 years ago while I was selecting my University courses and first introduced to the corporate world, it seemed common for someone to have a successful career in a completely different field than their original field of study. This both confused an comforted me at the time, as I had been taught to carefully select my career path based on my skills; but I didn’t know what I wanted to do ‘when I grew up’ – I couldn’t narrow it down at the time due to my limited life experience. I chose my program as I thought learning business could be applied to anything I wanted to do after graduation; and I hoped I’d figure out my path along the way.
The new working landscape may look scary…
Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash
Pensions and full-time work also seem to become less common with the ever-changing landscape of products & services for sale; so it seems we can no longer expect to fully retire as once was normal and will need to rely on our skills to earn an income for longer. With fears of technology and AI evident in today’s society, David Autor runs through some of these worries in his TED article Will automation take away all our jobs?; but ultimately points out that: ‘Our machines increasingly do our work for us. But the reason there are still so many jobs can be explained by two fundamental economic principles: one has to do with human genius and creativity; and the other has to do with human insatiability.’1 Over a decade in the financial services industry would enable one to pick up some financial knowledge and systems experience; but also teach important basic skills that can be included in these principles including customer service, teamwork, goal-setting and problem solving. With an opportunity for career change, I had a chance to question how does one adapt their current set of skills and experience to successfully fulfill the jobs of the future – and what are we now teaching differently in school so that kids can be prepared as well?
How are we guiding/shaping the future?
While I’m aware of the severe lack of equality and funding even within our own educational system, I was shocked when my cousin excitedly texted me one day when she was issued the exact same textbook I had used – over 13 years before her! Obviously teachers are not using the textbooks word-for-word (hopefully!) and some books are more current than others due to the nature of the subject matter; however, it’s evident that we need to overhaul the education system and look for ways to improve on preparing the kids for an unknown future. No sweat, right?
(Side rant; most teachers are, in my opinion, completely under-appreciated, under-utilized, and under paid…)
I certainly do not have the answers – but I believe it’s something we should be discussing and working on together, as a society. Marianne Cantwell in her TED talk The hidden power of not (always) fitting in describes what I had experienced, as a result of our preconceived notions, that we live in a strictly black in white world made up of generalists and specialists. We are expected to decide early on who we are and what we want to do/be and stay that way – but we all know as complex humans we are ever changing and often cannot fit into pre-determined boxes. This is where she makes the case for the common anthropology term ‘liminal’ to be used to also describe those who can exist between both of these professional worlds, but never truly necessarily belong to one or the other; essentially ‘creating their own island.’2
OK – so now what?
We are aware of the current educational issues and we can identify and name some of the new trends that we are seeing – so what’s next? It’s only natural that we are teaching kids about internet security & privacy, to set boundaries & learn communication etiquette (i.e. no bullying!). I wonder though, are we doing enough to help them discover their passions by developing their skills and learning to embrace and prepare for the challenges and stress of the unknown? How do we ensure our teachers have the right tools and enough resources to help shape the minds of the future? Although ever grateful for the opportunities to learn, I can’t help but wonder if I (and many others!) would have found my path sooner had I been encouraged from the start to build a profile of skills and experiences instead of trying to pick any career I wanted…
Photo by Daniel Watson on Unsplash
It is becoming increasingly more urgent for businesses and individuals alike to not only be active on various social media platforms, but to focus on creating tailored profiles and marketing plans in attempts to stand out and potentially reach a global audience. As Gary Vaynerchuck blatantly puts it in his video Culture & Attention | Complexcon Keynote 2017 | DailyVee 345 “…everybody’s gonna know everything about everything! (…) kindness is gonna be the new currency!”3 With this kind of access to information, we will need to learn to listen and interact with our targeted audience – whether that be a potential or an existing customer, employer or viewer – and follow through with positive actions that create an unexpected, memorable experience. Ideally the future will see us working towards building our profile of skills and experience to earn income, continually learn and to help inspire others achieve their goals. Hopefully we can together, encourage one another to find and be ourselves – creating our islands, instead of forcing ourselves to fit into labels and boxes!
1[D. Autor]. (Mar. 29, 2017). Will automation take away all our jobs?. [Article] Retrieved Feb. 10, 2018 https://ideas.ted.com/will-automation-take-away-all-our-jobs/
2[TEDx Talks]. (Apr 3, 2017). The hidden power of not (always)fitting in. | Marianne Cantwell | TEDxNorwichED [Video File] Retrieved Feb. 10, 2018 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cnooCepNZv4
3 [Gary Vee]. (Nov. 23, 2017). Culture & Attention | Complexcon Keynote 2017 | DailyVee 345 [Video File]. Retrieved February 11, 2018 https://youtu.be/8xm0ZaOZYeQ
Blog #4: Changing Social Media Landscape – Part 2: What Does It Mean for Businesses
Check out my thoughts on the changing job market landscape in my latest blog:
How are we preparing for unknown careers of the future? Check out my blog for my two cents: