Develop 100 Different Lives for Career Success in the 21st Century
#WF33 Tips for balancing work, life, finances, and health over the next few decades.
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It’s Summertime and the living is easy 🎵 - many of you will be taking a break from work. You might be in Tuscany, Sarasota, or Öland, reading Workforce Futurist with a mojito 🍸 by your side.
Important questions enter your mind:-
Who will get evicted from Love Island?
Where will I eat lunch?
How can I continue this fine life for the rest of the year?
Holidays are a good time to reflect on our lives and work.
Welcome to the ‘On The Beach’ edition with some thoughts on 21st-century careers.
The Latin origin of the word ‘career’, means journey.
A typical 20th-century work journey might have been ->
A man leaves school in the 1970s, works for 45 years, or 11,700 days, for 12 different companies. He earns $1.5m, retires at 65, and dies 12 years later. A life quantified in this way is rather somber, so let’s add he also mostly enjoyed 2,340 weekends and laughed 154,555 times 🤣.
“Why did I work as a plumber for nearly 45 years?
It was the first job offer I got after school and it seemed OK.”
Keynes predicted that we’d all be working 15 hours per week by 2030 and have a life of leisure. In the last 40 years, leisure time has actually fallen. The reason is that more women have joined the workforce and this leisure time has been transferred to childcare. Keynes didn’t spot that one coming.
The 20th-century work model is unravelling quickly as we live longer, jobs unbundle, industries automate, virtue signalling is instant, the earth heats up and 24 x 7 streaming entertainment is provided for free.
It is expected that babies born in richer countries will live past 100.
In a 100-year life, their work journeys might start at 20 years old, and last for 50 or 60 years.
A career is your work journey. Your perspective will depend on whether you are being served the mojito 🍸 by the pool, or you are serving it with a toothy smile😄.
There are 3.6 billion in the global workforce last time I counted, and 830m ‘professionals’ on LinkedIn. Those who can are rethinking work in the context of changing needs in leisure, health, learning, resting, and, spending. Everyone’s work history matters whether it is called a career or just a series of jobs.
An individual’s motivation for working is a complex mix of overlapping factors which range from feeding the family, saving souls, being the greatest, leaving a legacy, to saving a minimum viable living cost fund when you are unable to work.
In my 20s I wanted to learn, see the world, and meet people with different backgrounds so worked for a large global consultancy. In my 30s I wanted the same, but with more autonomy, so set up my own business. We all have different work motivations and goals.
Different generations have different expectations of work. There is a reason why the dystopian Squid🦑Game is the most popular series ever on Netflix. A game where your decisions have very serious repercussions😧.
A quick look at TikTok #Careers and there are some varied, and weird expectations about the world of work - but most people want some flexibility, autonomy, and equity.
Whether you are on the beach🏖️, serving drinks, or thinking about the future, here are some thoughts on navigating your 21st-century work journey :-
Churn, baby, churn
We can’t predict how the supply and demand of Labour Vs Capital will play out over the next few years. In recent times,
4 million people resigned in one month in the US.
Tech firms lay off 10% of their workers e.g. Shopify.
People are coming out of retirement due to the increased cost of living.
One thing that we can predict is that there will always be churn (movement) - the next generation of WorkTech should make this a bit easier.
From the resigners to the unRetirers, if the average number of employment transitions for the boomers was 12, it is likely to increase by multiples for those with more than a couple of decades of work left. More people will feel comfortable earning from work-matching platforms, rotating from working to learning to caring.
Employer Tip:- the same worker might do tasks, projects, roles for a company at different times in their career as they move between projects and jobs. Employer brand aka Why would I want to work for you? becomes even more important and extends to freelancers, suppliers, and customers.
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Learn, baby, learn!
Learning for the first 20 years of life, then working for the next 50 does not make sense.
We have schools, Universities, and corporate learning and of course people increasingly learning from Google, YouTube, and TikTok.
We will see a massive change in how learning is designed and delivered as those with the capability to entertain and tell stories to diverse audiences at scale will find ways to partner with traditional educationalists.
Watch out for StanfordDisney competing with OxfordBBC and MITAmazon to educate global learners.
Expect life-long learning, and keep a record of your learning accomplishments.
Whether you are 20 or 70, I suspect curiosity is rather hard-wired. However, you can work on improving the quality of your Questions.
Take a View on Industry Trends
Keep an eye on the horizon when choosing rewarding skills to develop.
“A robot will never master my scissor cuts” My barber tells me.
“People will always have bad backs” Says my chiropractor.
I can’t imagine a robot barber cutting hair – some tasks will be harder to automate than others over the coming years.
What do you want to be when you grow up?
This is an annoyingly tricky question to answer when you are a teenager and I still can’t give you a good answer. But imagine being asked in 1922 what the world might be like in 1962 when you retire?
In 2010, we wouldn’t have predicted that in 10 years we would need app developers, social media managers, and, drone operators.
So predicting which skills will be useful over a long career is impossible.
How will automation, geopolitics, and technology impact the mining, education, and tourism industries?
What will people need in 10 years’ time?
Will soft skills for humans be useful? You bet.
Which hard skills will be needed? Not so sure.
Develop those soft skills naturally and keep an eye on industry trends.
Career Tip -> develop some possible scenarios for your industry, the opportunities, and impact on your skills.
Nurture relationships and networks
The number of stable relationships a person can cognitively maintain is 150, this research by Robin Dunbar et al goes back decades and has remained stable in the social media era.
I have 8,000 connections on LinkedIn - not many of them will help me move house, but some might help me find a contract, share some knowledge, or connect me someone else.
The narrative of those making a living in the ‘creator economy’ might be all about individuals, each woman for themselves, but the real story always has been and always will be about teams. Behind every solopreneur and influencer is a team of marketers, writers, lawyers, video/podcast editors etc.
You will find your team, your work BFFs, your tribe, your guild - support them and they will support you.
New technology will enable teams to form and manage incentives and governance. From emerging career communities to DAOs. These teams will get together and provide services to employers competing with internal teams and external consultancies.
Early research on the impact of hybrid work on team dynamics indicates that bridges between teams are being degraded without the informal interactions available from the physical workplace.
Career Tip:- re-establish dormant ties with people - there is no time limit. Many in large orgs spend their networking energy internally, make sure you are connecting with people outside your organisation.
Think Like A Business - $Me, MyselfLtd, and ICorp.
Workers exchange their time and skills for money. One way to look at this, is we are all mini-businesses :-
What are your services?
How much are they worth in the market?
The financial health of your business is important. Having just one employer can put your revenue streams at risk.
How much cash do you need to stop working and how does 10% inflation impact your sums?
If maths isn’t your strong point, find someone who can help you.
Don’t rely solely on your company pension or future government payouts to look after your financial security.
Know your worth, your cost drivers and develop some options.
As a mini-business you have a brand, what does your professional brand say about you?
Recruiters do basic background screening these days on your social media accounts, including LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok.
It’s worth keeping some personal info from your future boss and colleagues under the radar, and creating profiles on social media to develop your professional brand, which you will have for many years.
There will be more opportunities to earn equity for your contributions with a new generation of technology and DAOs and tokenization of work. It will be easier to build up capital in the fast-growing virtual economy, and metaverse. The name of the game is to accrue points, skills, and attributes to apply across your digital and physical lives.
Develop 100 Different Lives
From the 100-year life to 100 different lives.
Corporate career progression in the last 50 years seemed like playing a game of chess - where you have 12 smart moves to the optimum closing position.
But there is no 21st Century career map.
Whether you are 20 or 60, you have an infinite set of paths open to pursue your goals.
Develop 100 different lives - try new things, join new teams, learn new skills, adapt and continue.
You will have periods working for money, for equity, volunteering, caring, learning, and resting.
The trick will be to balance work, life, and finances over the next few decades.
This is a long journey, so pace yourself and stay healthy.
“This above all: to thine ownself be true."
The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark. Shakespeare.
Careers advisors used to pull out the dusty personality theories to guide you on which career path to take. There will be many paths open to you, and you will get to know yourself with experience.
A final thought before you refresh your mojito🍸…
Ignore all career advice and start your future work journey today.