There has been a big overhaul of the meaning of jobs and work, and a lot of people no longer want to do the daily chores. Witness the Great Resignation – with now over four million people quitting their jobs every month – or the “anti-work” movement that seeks to encourage people to quit the job market altogether.
How should organizations react to such developments? They must foster inclusive and inspiring work cultures, as well as forward-looking leadership that encourages innovation and empowerment. Along with that, it’s time to rethink the concept of ‘work’ itself and what work really means in the digital age.
The late Richard Nelson Bolles, longtime author of the career development classic What Color Is Your Parachute, says the most successful job searches aren’t really job searches. Rather, they involve research to find what a business needs and come up with the creation of a role for oneself to fill those gaps. While the first edition of “Parachute” was published in 1972, and continuously updated, does it still hold its place in the digital economy of the 2020s? Yes, even more than before.
Rather, official job descriptions – the bane of Bolle’s teachings – have become a tired old relic from a bygone era, writes Tyrone Smith, Jr. of Udemy. In a recent Harvard Business Review article, he insisted that jobs, and their descriptions, should be relevant and adaptable to people and their businesses, revolving around ‘skills, not tasks’.
Job descriptions are straitjackets that discourage growth and innovation. “Once hired, it’s just as essential to allow employees to diversify and collaborate with people outside of their daily lives while focusing their work on important tasks,” said Smith. “People empowered by technology and digital transformation should be” encouraged to learn and grow outside of their normal daily work routine, and excited about the prospects for developing their careers without the pressure of job descriptions, ” of strict responsibilities or titles, ”Smith states.
By focusing on talent, people won’t be “locked into a specific role or struggling with inflexible job titles,” Smith continues. The emphasis should be on “development and growth, rather than portraying professional responsibilities as being limited in a particular” path “. ”
Watch how quickly job descriptions change. Think about the changes in career paths we’ve seen already over the past two decades or so – could you have imagined at some point seeing a demand for positions like ‘cloud architect’ or ‘social media manager’? Or “data scientist” for that matter?
The technology is going beyond traditional learning and education, agrees Avani Desai, CEO of Schellman & Company. “To be successful in the 1920s, you have to make sure you don’t get stale and embrace learning, and then pivot into being an agent of change. Never stagnate, even if you stay in the same industry, business, or job. It’s easy to get complacent, but because everything changes so quickly, you have to be able to reinvent yourself every 10 years so that you don’t get stale. Being proactive about your situation and constantly questioning yourself helps.
Regardless of how advanced technology evolves – “from blockchain to artificial intelligence or machine learning, humans possess unique traits of creativity, emotion and inspiration that are limitless and do not require rules or structure – that’s why we can write persuasive arguments, diagnose a new disease, provide personalized and empathetic customer service or imagine an invention, “adds Desai.” After all, we are the ones who dreamed and created computers in the first place, and always have been, constantly striving to improve our quality of life, competing for the best new solutions. Machines can be programmed to do many tasks, but they don’t have, and I don’t think they’ll ever have these innate abilities that we have.
In the process, new types of jobs are evolving that challenge current descriptions. For example, the Cognizant Jobs of the Future project tracked potential career paths and cites examples of jobs that evolve around the talents in demand in today’s digital organizations. To see where the imagination can take it, take a look at the types of creative positions that will be part of organizations in the years to come. Keep in mind that these are all part of rapidly changing scenarios and can all be reoriented and redesigned to meet the particular skills of individuals who get involved in organizations:
Proficiency in advanced computer science: “Define the IoT roadmap, carefully assess the technical requirements and assess the feasibility of setting up the state-of-the-art processing unit and measure the return on investment. Knowledge of systems modeling and knowledge of distributed architectures is required, along with significant experience working on IoT hardware and software platforms.
Cyber disaster forecaster: “Monitor, detect and predict cyber threats and predict their impact. The forecaster will distinguish between highly unlikely and extremely impossible cyber outliers, and accurately map and predict to prepare for cyber uncertainties.
Mechatronics engineer: “Combines skills common to mechanical engineering, electronics, computer engineering, telecommunications engineering, systems engineering and control engineering. Designs, tests, studies and inspects complex machinery including cars, drones, industrial machinery and even automated submersibles.
Augmented reality route generator: “Will collaborate with talented engineers and technical artists to create the essentials that allow clients to move in an augmented reality experience of place, space and time. Proficiency in the creative language / jargon of AR hackathons, game jams, skins, surfaces, planes, escape rooms, SDKs, simultaneous location and mapping, and headsets.
UI / UX designer: This is already a well-established position in many companies, with professionals taking on increasingly visible roles as companies move to more digitized product lines. These designers “help with technological design to make products easier to use. Research internet and consumer behavior, compile information about a site’s target audience, and develop website layout, design, and technology features that improve accessibility and value for users.