The future of work is changing rapidly. Artificial intelligence is changing the workplace. Slowly it is displacing humans on manual tasks. More importantly, in the next decade, even some knowledge-based jobs will be replaced by innovation.
This can leave people feeling unsettled. In today’s workplace, there’s a noticeable feeling of uncertainty. The reason for this unsettled feeling is that we are not all used to change.
Change is inherently scary.
The good news is that change truly makes us better in our life. It is an opportunity to grow and evolve. A lot of us, according to World Economic Forum, more than 30% of us will need to learn new skills so that we can get better jobs.
In 2018, 2019, many coding camps sprung up and everyone wanted to learn to code. According to coursereport, the bootcamp market grew by 49%. Artificial Intelligence is leading the new wave of innovations. People who are currently in jobs ripe for displacement are re-training themselves to become coders.
The truth is that not everyone can be coders and not everyone should be coders.
Programming is a job that requires abstract thinking, logical thinking, and attention to detail. For people who are not used to that mindset, simply learning to code using a book or a course won’t lead to a fulfilling career.
In the age of emerging technology: artificial intelligence, big data, virtual reality, and robotics, there are plenty of jobs that will require technical understanding but at the same time involve more human skills. These jobs won’t be replaced by technology any time soon.
Ikigai is the way to go
As a part of retraining and re-skilling, how about thinking of the alignment of Ikigai. Ikigai is the Japanese concept of finding your reason for being. In the center of passion, mission, vocation, and profession is ikigai. It’s a purpose for living, and a reason for being. Many credits this concept as the blueprint for happiness.
In the age of change in the workplace, it’s an opportunity to find your ikigai. Some of us are in jobs we currently love. What if these jobs are going to be replaced, too? That is okay. In the age of innovation, just like our jobs that are transformed, we can transform, too.
The question to ask yourself is: Can you revise your current profession, add, subtract, modify, to create a new job for yourself that will lead to Ikigai in the future of work.
Reliance on the status quo
In change, there’s almost a need to cling onto the status quo. According to psychologists, we have an inherent status quo bias that prevents us from being comfortable in change. Because uncertainty is uncomfortable, you tend to work harder at your current jobs.
But, what you need is to self-reflect on what your ideal profession should be in the future workplace. Through self-reflection, you can figure out an action plan for yourself.
In some ways, embracing new challenges is the cure for our collective future of work problems. Often, it’s not the new challenge that leads to the result of finding your ikigai. It’s the journey along the way that leads to other avenues of exploration that will lead to finding your ikigai.
Be prepared for a longer and more elaborate journey. The future is complex. The road is winding. Innovation does not happen overnight. Think in terms of years and plan accordingly.
Modifying the status quo
One of the best ways to ease yourself into the future workplace is to modify your existing status quo to integrate technology. Think of yourself as a self-sustaining company. If corporations are integrating technology to automate processes, how can you integrate technology into your life?
Many people learn to code to solve problems in their daily life. If you are an artist, how can you leverage new technology to display your artwork, generate your artwork, and sell your artwork to more customers? If you are a doctor, how can you leverage new technology to automate your workflows in a way that will allow you to focus on the patient? If you are a shop keeper, how can you leverage new technology to help you sell online to a wider customer base? If you are a marketing manager, have you thought about what it would be like to work with a team located across the world serving clients worldwide?
Modifying the status quo often leads us to new opportunities created. In surgery, new robotic technology is improving procedures every day and helping doctors to develop less invasive procedures. At the same time, there’s a new type of assistance required in these types of surgeries. Nurses and surgical assistants are learning to load equipment for the robots, monitor their activities while learning to adapt to this new working environment.
There will be manual work that will be completely replaced. But, at the same time, there will be many new industries and jobs opened. If you keep your eyes open while you try your hands at different types of new jobs, then you may find new jobs that are more fulfilling.
If there’s an urgency, you will be surprised at how much you can accomplish. Your life may be re-energized because you are learning every day.
Evaluate and use all the skills that you have
Innovation is happening every day. Have you evaluated all the skills that you have? Skills that will not be easily replaced are emotional intelligence, creativity, communication, judgment, critical thinking, etc..
Create a worksheet for yourself where you list out all the skills that you have. Circle the ones that you think you are best at. Then, envision a job that will use all of your best skills.
According to the World Economic Forum, 65% of our children now entering primary school will hold jobs that don’t exist yet. According to McKinsey, by 2030, demand for jobs that require a higher level of cognitive skills such as emotional intelligence, creativity, communication, judgment and critical thinking will rise by 19% and in Europe by 14%.
With new technology, there’s also more of a need for new kinds of service jobs that use a combination of human skills in conjunction with technology skills. This type of service job will involve interacting with an AI-enabled system to come up with solutions.
Learn to be empowered by information and automation
One of the pitfalls of technological innovation is often that we are inundated by information and feel bogged down by automation. In your own daily life, are you using data and technology to help you to become more efficient? Are you learning to deal with a global workforce and a global clientele?
Many traders at investment banks are learning to code so that they can track market movements and build models that will work better.
Many marketing consultants are automating their marketing flow to manage the ever-increasing amounts of newsletters, press releases, and campaigns that they have to run. They are spending more time analyzing customer behavior from data generated by marketing software.
Many parents are hiring babysitters, tutors, and housekeepers to manage their family life better. Many of them are learning to work remotely freeing up time to spend with their children. Some of them are outsourcing parts of their current jobs by using Fiverr and Upwork so that they can also free up time to up-skill in their careers.
Create your own job if one doesn’t exist
If you are like me, you look at your list of skills that you are good at and you are not sure which subsets you want to pursue. You are not sure what job can best use your skills. Then, give yourself time to figure it out. There are many opportunities to find freelance work that will allow you to try out different career paths.
Often, hands-on experience is the best way to learn whether you truly enjoy a certain job. Many entrepreneurs try and fail at many businesses before succeeding in one. Keep trying to move your needle closer to the finish line. It’s almost a requirement to keep trying.
No one gets it right the first time.
As innovation dynamically grows in the marketplace, by trying to create your perfect job, you are also up-skilling your skillsets. You are going with the tide to figure out what job you will truly enjoy in the future workplace.
Future of work can be scary if you are not used to change. But, it’s even more scary if you don’t try. The solution is not to pigeon-hole yourself into jobs that may not fit you just because there are more jobs in that area. Instead, try to use all of your best skills to come up with a job that you are best suited for.
By Jun Wu
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