Once upon a time, spending an eternity doing the same job with the same company was a badge of honor. You had a career, and a big fat pension to go along with it. It was called “job security,” and it was good.
Today, it’s a death sentence.
Here’s why, courtesy of Daniel Burrus and his brilliant book Flash Foresight: How to See the Invisible and Do the Impossible:
Change is today’s constant. Technological change, in particular, is redefining everything we do. Moore’s Law is proving true, and that means that everyone’s job — yours and mine alike — will change radically in the very near future. What you’re doing now isn’t what you’ll be doing tomorrow.
Don’t believe me? Try this one on for size. What happens, tax preparers, when someone releases a mobile app that files your taxes for you? That ain’t science fiction — it’s already happened. It’s not much of a stretch to imagine a day when CPAs won’t be doing tax returns at all. What happens then?
The answer is simple: Something else happens. If we insist on doing the same old thing, we’ll die. As Tom Hood likes to say, the most important skill we’ll need going forward is the ability to learn new skills. Our job is to learn our way into the future, to adapt our way to success.
“The new value is not on job security,” Burrus writes, “but in job adaptability.”
I’ve spent my entire career informing people, first in radio, then as a print journalist, then as an online sports editor, then as a communications pro for a non-profit association. What I do — informing people — hasn’t changed at all. How I do it has changed radically. I’ve gone from broadcast to print to the Internet to social media. And that’s just the start. I have no doubt the Next Big Thing is waiting out there to throw me for a loop once again.
When it does, I’ll continue to do what I’ve always done. I’ll just relearn how I do it.
That’s the task that faces all of us. Learn, then learn some more. Adapt, then transform. Shed our skin and become something new, all in the name of serving our ever-more-demanding clients.
Are you ready to do that? Is your rate of learning greater than the rate of change?
The only way to stay relevant going forward is to continuously learn how to do your job differently. How are you doing that?
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