Photo by Ellyot at Unsplash
We are hearing so much stuff in the media about how technology, in particular, is changing the face of work.
There are the dire stories about how computers, robots are going to automate so many jobs that we take for granted. Just as we can buy robotic vacuum cleaners that de-dust your carpets while you are out, computers can provide diagnostic services for doctors and hospitals, farmers can send drones out to check the state of water and livestock movements, even plough paddocks via driverless tractors. Cars won’t need drivers, we can even tell our computers to play whatever music we like.
Does that worry you?
Well, it needn’t.
Remember, history tells us that all books were hand written by monks. Did the invention of printing presses eliminate the need for that? Perhaps, but guess what. Monks taught people to read, so more people had access to books. My ancestors weren’t wealthy enough to pay for that service, but my great-grandmother who immigrated from Ireland in the mid 1800s could read and write.
Once only people with money could afford horses and carriages, the rest lived in a very short radius from where they were born. Then cars were invented, and electricity, and lights. Were jobs reduced? No way! A whole lot of new industries emerged, and people became resourceful to adapt.
That is exactly what’s happening now. Children just starting school now will have work choices that we can now only dream about, and probably can’t even imagine. Definitely not fewer choices.
They will change jobs several times in their lifetime, and especially if they look after their health, yes, a favourite theme of mine, they will be able to work long into their old age. Think David Attenborough, a man in his nineties who still has a passion for the natural world and continues to produce amazing documentaries.
Many people these days retire when the calendar thinks they ought, but then they find that they get bored, or just have so much more to give. They might do it differently, working part time so they can enjoy their grandchildren, golf, fishing, travel, gardening, or whatever.
Perhaps they won’t be in paid employment, but their experience, wisdom and zest for life enables them to employ themselves and have control over their lifestyles.
Careers that depend on human warmth are definitely on the rise, especially when combined with technical skills.
Here are a four suggestions to get you thinking:
Tip 1. Stay curious
Notice what’s going on around you. What are other people doing? Take note of that. Even though you might not be interested in doing what they are doing, it can trigger good ideas.
Tip 2. Be prepared to keep learning
I don’t necessarily mean formal education, although that might work for you. Keep reading, ask someone to show you how to do something that interests you. Talk to younger members of the family, or your friends’ kids. They love showing you new tricks.
Tip 3. Write your bucket list
Get yourself a notebook. I love the really small ones that fit into a shirt pocket. Write down every small thing that seems remotely interesting. Don’t worry about whether it sounds ridiculous. Lots of great ideas start out sounding stupid. Let them incubate. Some will be career opportunities, some will just be fun. Careers are not just about money, although it does pay the bills. Volunteer. Lots are needed these days to provide essential services.
Tip 4. Get advice
Talk to a career coach, a human resources manager, or someone who is well-informed on modern careers. They can help you sort out your hopes, dreams, values and needs
In conclusion …
I can understand it’s scary when change shows up. Understood. But a handy way to think about it is “opportunity”. Change is the only constant and you needn’t be afraid of it.