Reinventing our Careers

Few centuries back, careers used to run in families. A famer’s child would mostly take up farming, an artisan’s children would take up the profession, so would an apothecary’s progeny.

This changed with access to higher education, industrialisation, and faster, easier modes of travel. People started going into professions different from that of their parents. Yet, once picked, most would stay in that profession for life.

This once again changed in last few decades; we have started to experiment with different areas of work, even making significant shifts in profession. I for example, moved from engineering to sales to HR, either by choice or chance, but not by force. We all know many who shifted gears at least few times!

The accelerated pace of technology, automation and machine learning is going to change this drastically. As mentioned by Yuval Harari in his book ‘21 Lessons for 21st Century’, people need to develop the resilience to reinvent their careers several times in their lifetime – maybe every 10-15 years… not by choice, but because certain jobs will no longer exist.

Here are few questions to prepare ourselves to constantly reinvent our careers:

Understanding of macro environment

  • What changes are happening / likely to happen: my field, in adjacent and distant fields?
  • What knowledge and skills are needed in these domains?

Knowledge about Self

  • What do I enjoy doing most?
  • What do I excel in?
  • What do I like least?
  • What piques my curiosity and learning most?

Intersection between these two aspects is likely to be the sweet spot for reinventing careers!

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