A quiet idea about jobs has bubbled up between the eras of industrialism and information. Many “experts” have come out to suggest that anywhere from 65% to 85% of the jobs of the future do not currently exist. It’s no doubt that the advancement of technology is the assumed cause.
To some, this might sound alarming. There is a fear that older professions will become obsolete as the market shifts. Many wish to remain relevant in their livelihood. So the consensus of those believers is to break into other verticals to avoid being left in the dust.
But is it true?
But is there merit to this research? After all, the industrial age didn’t do away with all farmers and cottage industries. So is it realistic to expect something drastic to happen to current jobs?
An article published by Forbes leads one to believe different. And it presents a strong case that a looming displacement of jobs via tech is false. And a study by Deloitte and reported by The Guardian asserts that technology CREATES more jobs than it destroys.
What does it all mean for the jobs of the future?
First, it’s safe to assume you can count on remaining in your profession, if you so choose. The steamroller of progress didn’t hit many industries over the last century. And for the remaining few, it was for the better. I don’t think anyone is complaining that we have cars instead of horse-drawn carriages. (I need something to pull my camp trailer!)
Second, the modern economy helped us break down barriers in old industries. For example, vinyl record sales have increased annually for the last 14 years. Who would have thought? There is still a multitude of passionate audiophiles who aren’t willing to give up on the medium. So, even in 2020, if you’re working one of the top ten record manufacturers, you’re doing fine.
Now, with all that out of the way – how do you get ready for whatever the jobs of the future actually are?
My most favorite quote is by management and efficiency expert Harrington Emerson. It very much encapsulates my philosophy with work, business, and life. He said:
“As to methods, there may be a million and then some, but principles are few. The man who grasps principles can successfully select his own methods. The man who tries methods, ignoring principles, is sure to have trouble.”
Life changed for me in a lot of ways when I learned to value principles over methods. It caused me to develop a different perspective in my work. It gave me new direction on how to approach challenges and in how I relate to people.
Adopting solid principles creates a foundation and resolve that you can fall back on. It makes you adaptable, flexible, and resilient. But how does this translate into working in the jobs of the future?
Example – I’m sure you’ve seen various inquiries for marketing help all over the web and in your network. One common one I see is when people are looking for the “best tool that does X.”
Someone who prioritizes principles over methods understands that a tool is just that. A TOOL. More often than not, execution matters more than the tool. And the ability to execute is derived from one’s principles more than their methods. When I want to know the search volume of a keyword, does it matter much if I get that figure from SEMRush versus Ahrefs?
Explore new interests
If you strive to be proactive in how you spend your time, you can find paths to undiscovered passions. And those passions might result in a new facets to your career. Sure, you’ve clearly got to keep your head in the game with your current job. But you have plenty of hours outside of work to broaden your horizons.
This concept is the essence of the 79/21 rule as defined by Gary Vaynerchuk. In talking about his approach to social media, he says:
“I spend about 80% of my time on the hottest platform, go as hard as I possibly can on it, and spend 20% of my time getting a feel for everything else.”
The idea behind that approach is that some of your 21% will end up in your 79%. (Ta-da!)
What could it mean if you spend 21% of your bandwidth to explore new potential in your vocation? Who’s to say how that might transfer into the jobs of the future? Just as Gary Vee jumps into new platforms, you also can experiment with new innovations in the market.
Don’t ignore opportunities to serve
I kind of hate how underrated service is. In my opinion, there’s not enough compassion and humanity in the workforce. Many fulfilling moments of your life can come from the fruits of doing something without any return.
I cannot recommend it enough.
It doesn’t matter what it is, as long as it helps. If you find someone in need, reach out to them. Offer money in a crisis, a listening ear over lunch, or help someone “learn to fish” in their life.
Or maybe it’s a cause. Go volunteer for a local charity that resonates with you. Offer a free seminar in your community on a topic you’re knowledgeable in. Or try to encourage your employer to enroll your team in a event for a non-profit.
Unselfish service has a natural side-effect that gets you out of your own head. The act of directing your focus onto someone or something else is rejuvenating. Although you’re being productive for someone else, that interruption to your routine gives you a rest from your own cares.
When I come back to my own obligations, I often find a renewed view on life and work. The exposure to unfamiliar paradigms bring new inspiration to me. Venturing out of your comfort zone to help others broadens your perspective. I’m confident this is and would be the case for you too.
The Bottom Line About The Jobs Of The Future
I think the shifts of the coming age will be comparable in scope to the previous one. But if we still want assurance that our work is needed in the jobs of the future, the above principles are great for making us resilient and ready for any changes.
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