Adapt or die
Professional life changed dramatically compared to 50 years ago. It changed even compared to 15 years ago. As I like to say, change is the only constant of our life.
One says that having a great competency in a niche it ensures you a good income and a quiet life. I am a fan of this idea. The only thing I could add is that a niche is not lasting more than a period, being that 10, 15 or 25 years. Sorry to disappoint you! You have a a professional life of about 40 to 45 years, with some good chances to continue at small scale after retirement.
Therefore, it is very likely to make some changes over the years. The changes might not be sophisticated or outside of your original education, but there will be changes.
Let’s take marketing for an example. Marketing is a sound profession, with millions of practitioners all over the world. It started as we know it today in ’70s and it evolved in the 45 years in various formats. According to wikipedia, it started with Relationship marketing / Relationship management and evolved continously, with at least 4 different approaches up to Social Media Marketing and all nice tricks all bloggers should know. As long social media has not been mainstream, one could live happily with the old mix of techniques. Nowadays, if you are targeting a good job you must take this news into consideration. According to a latest study by Michael Stelzner, Founder of Social Media Examiner, about 83% dintre marketers consider social media as highly important for their business. Looking back in 2002, while I have been student at Computer Science, the biggest step forward in social media has been instant messaging via Yahoo and sharing a mood. Now this is already obsolete and Facebook is already a classical. Enough about it, I think I made my point with marketing ;-).
Let’s take another example. It is called education. According to a study of US Department of Education, the number of enrolled students increased from round about 3 millions in the 50’s to more than 15 millions in the early 90’s. That is three times more. Even more, the ratio female vs. male changed dramatically, to supra-unitary one in the late 90’s. The structure of jobs is very much different now, with lots of the jobs in manufacturing from US and western countries shifted to BRIC or CIVETS countries. Education industry has to supply now a supplementary set of skills, some even not completely identified. In EU, there are defined programs for Lifelong Learning. According to EU official site, Launched in 2000, Grundtvig aims to provide adults with more ways to improve their knowledge and skills, facilitate their personal development and boost their employment prospects. It also helps to tackle problems associated with Europe’s ageing population. States recognized that education provided at the age of 20 is not enough to secure a decent employment perspective.
Changes are more often and they are driven by a higher competition for resources and food. We are now 7 billions and the expectation is that this number will grow to 8.9 billion in 2050, increasing therefore by 47 per cent (study of UN). The main drivers of increase will be less developed areas. My assumption is that this will happen as the will be more available, therefore the natural increase of population will remain not penalized by diseases and starvation. Even more,
With a perspective of only 2 percent population increase in developed countries, a population active now significantly higher than the next generation and a long lasting crisis, the people of today will face an enormous challenge: how to cope with the change of perspective they grown with. Our parents had a rather predictable life, they retired around 58 with a nice pension and they could think about other things. In 10 to 20 years, it will become usual to retire around 65, nevertheless with a perspective of living at least 75 in average in Europe.
Adaption to new technologies, approaches and working style is the key to a successful professional life and a great work-life balance.
Plan to study each year something new.
Read news, understand the industry trends or get a career coach to guide you.
Invest some of your earnings in the personal development.
Look for a job that secures the access to new technologies or personal development programs.
|Photo by Novelo|
Add any other ingredient. Be prepared for changes!