Future Proofing Your Career
Human occupations have always been subject to natural or man-made changes that materially impact the human trajectory. Just as farming reduced the need for the hunter, the introduction of the automobile would have made many horse-cart drivers jobless. The Covid-19 pandemic has exposed, like never before in living memory, the fragility of our chosen professions.
Is it possible to plan ahead in a manner that one is either not impacted by such events or, at least, the impact is cushioned?
We offer you a few suggestions. None of these are radical or new ideas, but often thoughts presented to us help in cogitation and decisive action.
Identify your interest and consider making it your career
This is one of the first things most gurus will perhaps tell you. And rightly so if we might add. ‘It does not seem like work’ is a well-known phrase, spoken in connection with your work being in an area which is also your interest. If circumstances conspire to prevent you, at some point, from pursuing your chosen activity in that field, there could be many other activities in the near vicinity that could be almost as satisfying. How often have we seen sportspersons, who typically have a short span at the top, take to coaching or commenting in the sport when their ‘active’ days are over.
Keep your network alive
As work occupies a major part of our lives, each one of us perhaps interacts with many others engaged either in the same company, or another company in the same line of work, or related work, or as suppliers or customers. Our own colleagues and seniors and team-members could be working for other organisations and businesses at different points of time. There is a tendency to gravitate towards like-minded people and, in a work context, perhaps like-skilled people. Keep these relationships alive when you don’t need anything from them. Be good to people while you can. Not everyone has the power to be good to others.
Completing your target formal education and getting a job should not be the end of your learning. There are 7 billion smart people in the world, striving to make a difference. On occasion, the world does become different as a result of their innovations and inventions, leaving many stranded without a life-vest. While it may not give you a bigger bonus this year, staying curious about developments in the world outside, with a greater focus on developments happening in your field of work, will position you better to anticipate change. E-learning, one such innovation, makes it easy for each one of us to stay lifelong learners.
We are not unidimensional personalities, though some of us like to demonstrate that work is all they care about. Most of us, hopefully, have multiple interests. Keep them alive. Nurture them. Indulge in them. You never know when they could become your lifeline. If your primary employment does not permit a second income, volunteering is a way out. The world loves volunteers who are sincere and able. And since it is an area of interest, hopefully that will not create dissonance. Doing so regularly certifies your skill and marks you out as a reliable person who could be hired if he were interested.
Let your performance stand out
This does not require any explanation. If you establish your credentials as a good performer, you will always be in demand.
Ultimately, there are no guarantees in life. It is important to accept that ‘change is inevitable’, and that it is a matter of time before something new comes along that will completely disrupt the existing status quo and force us out of our comfort zone. When that does happen, you need to be ready to go with the flow or stand out with a new set of skills and mindset that allows you to create your own disruption.