by Julius WiedemannJan 19, 2021
The word career doesn’t mean anything anymore. And it is also not desired. It has become a word without content. Like sports. There is Kung-Fu and Bocce. One has nothing to do with the other. There is only breathing in common. With the variety of professional paths that one can take now, multiplying by the possibilities of feuds the party is due to be open in the next decades, and combine with the skills that we will be able to develop true better understanding of our minds, a profession, or a career, is a drop in the ocean.
I have become an advocator of classic courses again, such as engineering, medicine, law, administration, biology, and others. They will be the basis or gateways to any sort of achievement people want. Starting from a very narrow set of knowledge is not the best way to open the mind before you get into something you really identify with. Of course, I am not basing this on any data, it’s just my intuition. As a father of 18 and 16-year-old kids, and more recently also another one of one year, the second season, I worry about their future. And I think that the hardest part these days, with this profusion of professions, is to find your talent, and apply to something that will give you a decent life but also a lot of pleasure.
Professional paths are becoming less dependent on technical skills and more on the understanding of systems and human psychology. The ability to perform conflict resolutions or a mind map are now more important than calculating a bridge. Technical tasks will be done by computers. Our abilities will have to be used for more noble things.
The working hours and location of the worker in the 21st century interest very few people. What employers, or even better, self-employers, are interested in is how to execute any with maximum efficiency, in maximum “pleasurability”. These two parameters, work efficiency or efficacy and leisure used to be quite contradictory. They used to belong to very different worlds. For centuries we were told to supply skills to industries regardless if we could match any given work with skills and talents in ourselves. In a sense, it is metaphorically almost the same as the idea of marrying for love, something that started to become a reality at the end of the 19th century. Finally, feeding the family doesn’t have to come with suffering, or work at any cost. Our intelligence has been put to service in a much more compelling way.
In a society where skills and talents applied correctly are more important than formal education, and a new dynamic between employer and employee starts to exist, the current status quo is too afraid of giving too much freedom with the fear that the working environment would become a lawless environment. It is also important to understand that the old model will not vanish overnight, or it might even not vanish at any point in time. What is in consideration is to consider that a new model is arising and threatens old maniqueísm of times passed. The fact that we still have semi-slavery production processes and that industries such as technology and fashion struggle to produce things at low-cost by respecting human rights is a sign that a lot of transformation needs to be accomplished. What I really argue for is the speed of change and the possibilities of that were unimaginable just a couple of decades ago.
Career paths have also changed because of the unlocking of the intrapreneurial spirit in the world. New disruptive companies now come from anywhere, from India to Pakistan, from Brazil to Bolivia, from South Africa to Egypt. There are opportunities everywhere and with a little education on digital tools a new generation is able to imagine how things might work differently. A large part of these new intrapreneurs are not impresarios as in a classic term, they are more like enablers. They care more about connecting things, and less about making things themselves. As Steve Jobs said previously, it is all about connecting the dots.
To conclude, we will not have to wait for this new generation of workers and disruptors to arrive. They are already here, and what we need to care about is to enable a large group of people to put their talent to work and to serve. The new economy is the economy of identifying pent-up demands and combining them with resources that are wasted in systems. By doing that we might be able to create not only more efficient companies but also a more efficient world and tackle severe problems that insist not to go away, such as poverty, pollution, lack of education, and others. This way we do not need to think about careers anymore. We only need to think about the problems we need to solve, and the right people will arise to sort them out, given that we employ and make available the right technologies.
Read more from the series Digital Legacies where our columnist Julius Wiedemann investigates the many aspects of digital life.