A colleague recently attended an information night at her son’s school and came away with a mind-boggling mud-map of his future.
Her 10-year-old son, she was told, could expect to have at least six career changes – that’s distinct careers, not jobs – in the course of his working life, which would extend into his 70s and quite possibly beyond.
It’s hard to fathom that it was only a generation or so ago people remained in the same occupational group, if not the same job, for life.
It was actually a source of pride for many to remain with the same employer until they reached pensionable age and it came time to collect the gold watch
Anyone who started work today with the expectation of remaining in the same job for the term of their natural working life would be regarded – at very best – as deeply unimaginative.
As veteran Jobshift careers counsellor Rosemary Eckholm puts it: “There are many jobs that exist right now which are going to become obsolete almost overnight and some of the jobs Gen Z children will wind up doing have barely been dreamed of, much less created.”
There’s many talented, clever Baby Boomers and Gen X-ers people who remain in the workforce who can intellectualise this, but like dinosaurs post-asteroid strike are having difficulty adapting to the changed world.
It’s no longer enough to do your job well. The emphasis is growing, improving, developing, learning, striving, engaging, contributing, volunteering and taking on every challenge headlong.
Anything else and you really are just marking time.
And there will be no gold watch.