It wasn’t that many years ago that wherein one entered one field of work and maybe worked at only one company that defined how they would spend their entire career … from start to finish. Today, those entering the work force are encouraged to be flexible and go with the opportunity to use one’s skills within different organizations … or fields … as a way to move upward in terms of knowledge, achievement and compensation. Technology is a major driving force of this switch in terms of the development of the next best or effective way to do most everything. The conveyor belt of innovation and change is happening at lightning speed … certainly when compared to ‘the old days’.
We’ve probably all heard said that jobs that will be available in i.e. 5 years can’t be defined today simply because these jobs will pertain to things that have yet to be developed or in some cases … even thought of. Does this sound ideal … or just scary? It seems to me that this depends on how we allow ourselves to embrace this ‘moving target’ and incorporate it into our own game plan … or not. Today’s work environment offers opportunities to us because of knowledge and skills that we have and are needed presently. It’s the reason that we’re hired on one hand. At the same time and because of the fast evolution of change, tomorrow’s opportunities require that we be willing to continue our own learning or before long, we will find ourselves having expertise in classic or antique methods and tools. And whereas ‘classic’ adds value to a car and antiques are valuable collectibles to many, the value of yesterday’s tools and methods quickly diminish in today’s business world.
So where do you stand? What are your true answers to the following questions as a starting point to determine if you operating to take advantage of the ideal or the scary:
- What are you doing in your current job to make certain you’re aware of new advances being explored and developed in your field of knowledge?
- How often do you seek out others around you who are researching the next great wave in order to understand where things are headed and what you need to learn?
- What holds you back from admitting what you don’t know among your peers and asking for help in new learning?
- How will presenting yourself as the ‘student’ demonstrate strength to peers and bosses?
- To you personally, what advantage does showing your personal lack of knowledge potentially offer you in terms of opportunity and growth?
The very real challenge we witness in people within organizations of all types and focuses is those being willing to become the student of tomorrow’s innovations. Unfortunately some see pursuing new learning as risking being perceived as ‘less than’ or being judged as other than smart or sharp. Thus, rather than being vulnerable in this way, they are inclined to leave for another job where they can be hired for what they know and do today. It becomes an unending cycle. This is not the kind of flexibility that enables us to thrive in today’s whirlwind environment of development and change. I believe it is not what is meant by being flexible and staying up with the development taking place at lightning speed. This is more akin to running away. Running is reportedly and ultimately hard on the knees. Stop running. It’s healthy for your future!