Modern individuals are familiar with the concept of an “industrial revolution” upsetting the status quo. With things like automation and AI looming on the horizon, it appears that we may be in for yet another round of disruptive change in the professional world.
If you’re a millennial that is concerned about the potential of stiff, cold-hearted robotic competition, it’s important to do what you can to prepare for possible change. Here are a few suggestions for ways that you can future-proof your career in a world that is far from stable or predictable.
Get Comfortable with Continual Learning
There’s a reason that teaching is a career that has been highlighted as particularly safe from automation. By its very essence, learning isn’t an activity that can be automated.
On the contrary, it involves very human activities, like curiosity and the desire to grow. While you may consider the bulk of your learning to have taken place in the past, the truth is, a 21st-century professional is never done learning. It’s an integral part of maintaining one’s personal brand.
If you want to stay relevant over the upcoming years and decades, you must cultivate an attitude of continual learning to help you keep your skillset sharp. Perfect your soft skills. Learn new hard skills whenever possible. Wherever you are, always strive to be learning something for new possibilities in your career.
Consider a Career Pivot
While automation has managed to touch nearly every industry at this point, there are certainly some areas that are less susceptible to change than others. Teaching has already been mentioned, but other jobs less likely to be automated also include:
- Social workers
This is just a handful of the areas currently safe from automation, and they span the gamut and are not confined to a distinct industry. If you feel threatened by automation, you may want to consider pivoting into a new career field.
If you’re in a field that does have significant automation and you can’t change jobs, it’s still important to consider how you can pivot within your industry if necessary. For instance, if you’re a mechanic that actively fixes cars, don’t wait for your job to become irrelevant.
Sure, continue tapping into the benefits of maintaining your vehicles by hand, but when you’re on the job, use that continual learning mindset to go further. Look for ways to manage new pieces of automated equipment. Study the newest computerized car parts. Learn about electric vehicles. However you do it, make sure to stay at the forefront of the latest developments so that, if necessary, you can pivot even within your industry.
Stay Positive About Change
Finally, remember that change isn’t always a bad thing. In many cases, it’s revolutionizing how businesses operate. However, if you’re the individual in your company that is always fighting change, you’re going to quickly be left behind. Instead of resisting uncomfortable adjustments, embrace new developments, and look for how you can fit into the mix.
For instance, if you’re an accountant and you find that some of your work has been automated, use it as an opportunity to make technology work for you. Take the time to learn about a new piece of accounting software, offload some of your current work onto it, and then focus on the personal, customer-interaction side of your job.
The important thing is that you resist the urge to panic or become hostile to change. If you can learn to maintain an adaptive, flexible mindset, you’ll naturally remain both viable and superior to most other candidates in your field.
Succeeding in the Present and the Future
There’s no doubt that professional careers are less stable now than they’ve ever been in the past. That’s why the average tenure at a job for a younger millennial is 3.2 years — less than a third of those over retirement age.
While change has become the norm, though, it doesn’t mean you can’t prepare for the future. Look for smart, reasonable career pivots when you can. Always be learning. And above all, stay positive about change. If you can do that, your career will be as future-proof as possible.
About Beau Peters