by Karen Adamedes
You might not want to take a yoga class led by a robot but there doesn’t seem to be any doubt that robots and other technological advances will change the job market. And the type of jobs available.
We’re already seeing declines in the number of people in jobs such as telephone operator, retail cashier and travel agent. The typing pool, filing clerks and elevator operators are roles already assigned to history. Other jobs that are forecast to decline rapidly include sales roles, mortgage advisers and even social media managers.
There’s a good chance that you will need to change profession, company or role, if not now, at sometime in your career.
Your next job or role might not even exist at the moment.
Which makes the skills you need to be both good at your job and to manage your career essential.
They will help you showcase your abilities and provide you with choices. Choices about where you work, who you work for and the kind of work you do.
MongoDB CEO Matt Schireson recently announced he was stepping down from the role he described on his blog as the “best job I ever had” to get some balance back in his life. He said, “Right now, I choose to spend more time with my family and am confident that I can continue to have an meaningful and rewarding work life while doing so.” He went on to say, “As great as this job has been, I look forward to creating one which is even better.”
He has the confidence that he has the skills to carve out a role that he will enjoy. The skills that let him make the choice he wants.
These skills are not an option. They are as important to your working life as hash tags are to Twitter, Robin is to Batman, or bacon is to eggs (you get the picture).
And it’s not just fear of robots replacing you and having the ability to make choices why it’s important to work on your career skills, there are some other good ones like:
1. You Need To Eat.
Along with those other basics of life – shelter, clothing and Wi-Fi, food is right up there on the list of things you need money to pay for. Earning what you’re worth is the best way to make sure you eat well!
Career Skills will help you reach your potential, be able to communicate the value that you contribute and make sure that you have the ability to negotiate what you’re paid (and many, many more!).
If you’re going to spend your time working, shouldn’t you earn as much as you can?
And eat as well as you want?
And afford unlimited Wi-Fi?
2. Minutes Tick By Slowly
Very slowly if you don’t like your work.
There is nothing slower than the minutes counting down to knock-off time if don’t enjoy what you do. And there’s plenty of them in your working life (minutes, that is!). In fact, 4,920,960 is a conservative estimate of the number of minutes you will be working during your career. It’s a lot of time to watch the clock if you’re not doing something that you at least like.
The ability to take control of your career will ensure that you will get the knowledge, skills and experience that you need to choose where you work, who you work for and the type of work that you want to do. You need to have the skills to get the opportunities to gain the knowledge, skills and experience you need to be able to make those choices.
As Confucius said, “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” I’ll add, “or have to waste those precious minutes of your life watching the clock!”
Get immersed in something you really enjoy and time can just seem to disappear. And you’ll feel like you have spent it doing something you enjoy or that at the very least interests you!
(For the number crunchers out there the minutes of the day estimate is 8 hours a day, 233 days of the year for 44 years…it’s actually 295,257,600 seconds, but I didn’t want to freak you out…)
3. The person most interested in your career is…you!
That’s right. The person who looks back at you in the mirror every morning is the one who has the most to win or lose out of your career decisions.
They’re the one who is in the position to make the biggest difference to your career.
They’re also the only person who is going to be with you your entire career. And has the most interest in what you do, how you do it and if you enjoy it.
Other people may be supportive and provide you with coaching, guidance and training. They may provide you with unbelievable opportunities, great advice or fabulous sponsorship. But you are going to be with you your whole life…and ultimately your career. The choices you make are up to you. Developing the skills you need to manage your career is up to you.
4. Being good at what you do is not enough
You do need to be good at your job.
In fact, you need to be the very best at your job as you can. But that is unlikely to be enough in the madcap world of business targets, customer demands and busy schedules.
Nor is being dedicated, working long hours or leaping over small buildings in a single bound!
You need the skills to communicate who you are, what you do and the contributions that you are making.
You need to be able to sell your ideas for others to understand your contribution and appreciate the value that you bring to your role.
You need the skills to establish an operating style that helps you be effective in your work and builds you a positive reputation.
How you work with others and how you are known to work are great drivers of whether other people want to have you on their teams, or work with or for you.
These are all career skills that will empower you to be good at what you do and provide you with choices about your career.
5. The robots ARE coming
Bill Gates called it “software substitution” when he spoke at the American Enterprise Institute in March and as Business Insider reported said, “Software substitution, whether it’s for drivers or waiters or nurses … it’s progressing. … Technology over time will reduce demand for jobs, particularly at the lower end of skill set. … 20 years from now, labour demand for lots of skill sets will be substantially lower. I don’t think people have that in their mental model.”
Software substitution or robots, tomato or tomato (think different pronunciations!), call it what you will – technology is going to and has already made significant changes in the hobs that are available.
Remember it’s only in the last 10 years that the iPhone, Facebook and Twitter have been part of our lives. Who knows what the next ten years will bring?
Ensuring that you have the right skills (as opposed to the right job title) is what will enable you to adapt and navigate your career path through change. They will allow you to proactively manage your career to make the best choices and negotiate the best outcomes for you. Skills for networking, working with mentors, negotiating your salary and knowing when it’s time to move on (to name just a few).
And make friends with the robots…they look like they have cool cars!
Career Tip To Go: Commit to developing your career skills.
And you will be good to go!
Next week: What are career skills?