Safeguard your job with these futureproof skills: Part one
It is time to start preparing ourselves for the jobs of the future. The current crisis shows us that we need to adapt fast to the changing environment. Artificial intelligence has already been breathing down our neck for some time now and it is important to be ahead of the wave.
What key skills should you develop?
In the coming years, the marketplace will change significantly and many jobs that still exist now will surely disappear by 2030, in just 10 years’ time. Other new amazing professions will emerge.
I do not have a crystal ball to predict the future. Nevertheless, by looking closely at the current trends, with work getting even more remote and technology taking over, I can be reasonably confident that these are future proof strengths and skills that we will need to ride the wave of change, instead of getting crushed underneath it.
After reviewing the list, I realised that they were predominantly related to two main areas – to our mental / thinking capacity and to our emotional / empathic capacity. Thus, I have divided the article into two parts. Part one relates to our mental capacities and the second one will discuss our emotional powers.
Mental strengths and skills worth cultivating
All related to our mental power and thinking, these skills will stand you in good stead for the future:
Creativity and out-of-the-box thinking
Although machines can easily beat us when it comes to calculating difficult maths equations, they are not capable of conceiving new concepts and creating new ideas or coming up with out-of-the-box solutions. So, invest in your creative skills.
I used to say to myself that I am not a creative person because I can’t paint or sing, but having published a book all by myself last year, I have proven myself wrong. We are all creative in our own unique way. Identify your own creative powers and begin mastering them.
Complex problem solving
The problems of today’s world are not getting simpler. Actually, quite the contrary. In order to solve them, we need insight into how complex systems work, how they are intertwined and how we influence the rest by changing one component.
This requires stepping out of our own “fixed way of seeing things,” being flexible in thinking and having the mental capacity and elasticity to do so.
Want to start experimenting and see how flexible your way of thinking is? Start looking at the challenges you are involved in from various angles and perspectives; do not stay stuck in your own way of viewing things. We now know that our brain is able to learn and create new neural pathways continuously, but it needs us to be at the steering wheel to guide us in this direction.
Carol Dweck came up with the “growth mindset” concept in her bestseller book: Mindset. People with a growth mindset believe that through their lifetime, they are able to develop and learn new skills and abilities. People with a fixed mindset believe they were born in a certain way and are convinced that they have very limited ability to change.
Our parents lived with the concept of having one career for a lifetime. My generation started to change that paradigm. All of my coaching clients want one thing: to escape their current job and start a new one.
The generations entering the workforce right now need to realise that changing, not only jobs but whole career paths, will be a common thing, and not once or twice in a lifetime, but maybe even three or four times.
This could be dictated either from internal (following one’s passion) as well as external (rapidly changing environment) motivations. So, we will need to continuously learn new skills and adapt to new knowledge.
Expats are used to regularly changing environments, and we all realise it is often easier said than done. Adapting takes time and effort. The corona crisis shows us how quickly we sometimes need to adapt to a rapid change.
I believe that in the coming years, constant change will be our daily reality and those who embrace it will be the winners. On one hand, our brain is pushing us to change, through its inquisitive nature. On the other hand, it often presses the brakes when the change is perceived as threatening – as its main purpose is our survival. Being caught between those two sides of our brain means we need to learn to master them.
If you, like me, have troubles with embracing change, start practising it now. You can start by changing small, insignificant things, like your route to the office, school or supermarket. You need to be continuously training your brain to adapt to change. You do not start preparing for a marathon by running the entire distance; you start by running around the block.
Technology and analytical skills
With the technological revolution at the end of the previous century, we can see that tech continues to accelerate at a high pace. Concepts like blockchain, big data and artificial intelligence have entered the workforce and are definitely not leaving any time soon. What does it mean for us humans? We all need to not only acknowledge their existence but to start understanding what they mean for us and for our future.
We will need people with technological skills who are able to further develop these technologies and we will need people with analytical skills who will be able to understand, analyse and draw conclusions as to what these technological changes mean for the given business or industry.
Part 2: Skills relating to our emotional capacity
What other future-proof skills related to our careers would you like to add to the list? Share them in the comments below. And stay tuned for part 2: Skills relating to our emotional capacity!
This article originally appeared on IamExpat in the Netherlands.