Many have predicted dramatic change ahead for the careers of millennials and our children. What we’ve neglected to notice is that in 20 years those of us who have now mastered their chosen profession will still be working, but their jobs will be very different at best and more likely extinct.
Someone approaching 40 in middle management today could be part of the minority that rises to senior leadership. If not the option of continuing to retirement doing much the same thing is, for most roles, not an option.
Two choices that do exist, are to either retrain or to take the leap into a job role that isn’t likely to become automated or obsolete. Emerging professions include nanotechnology and advanced robotics, can an older learner in these fields keep pace with a young student?
Sectors that will always need human workers are harder to identify. One assumes we will always want fresh food but even this can now be grown, harvested and sold with very little human intervention. It seems unlikely that buildings could be erected without people and healthcare is an ever-growing sector that is desperate for nurses.
There are no easy answers to this challenge, especially if your future plans require a similar or increased income. Perhaps we should start by asking ourselves some questions:
When we say someone is ‘doing it for the money’ it is rarely a compliment and most recognise that fulfilment comes from more than just a pay cheque.
What do I love doing?
Many owners of small businesses stumbled into their career via a passion outside of work. The failure rate of new ventures is high but those who succeed, often go on to love their work.
Can I make a difference?
Taking a pay cut is tough but doing a job that really impacts peoples’ lives is so much more rewarding than putting in long hours in the vague hope that a share price might increase.
Rather like writing a Will, it is easier to put off contemplating a future in which your profession doesn’t exist but do this we must. The early retirement opportunity that so many Baby Boomers enjoyed will not exist for their children in 10 years. Instead, those born after 1970 will have to work beyond 2030 when the world of work will be transformed from what we see today.