When I graduated from school it was possible to enter the work force, work for one company your entire career, and then retire with a nice little (or not so little) pension for the rest of your life. In fact, I know at least one of my contemporaries who did just that. One company; their entire work-life. It sounds boring to me, but I’m a bit of odd duck and I know there are others who would love to be able to do the same thing.
The problem is, those days are over. The young person leaving school today — regardless of interests or education — is likely to change careers 5 to 7 times over the course of their life. The pace of modernization means that there won’t be people selling smartphones in another 10 years because the new “thing” will be something different. There will be some jobs — not careers — that remain. I suppose there will always be a need for garbage collectors, and doctors, and of course lawyers, and day care workers, and such — but retraining will become more and more an issue and longevity on the job will become less and less common. I came across an article: The downside of Limitless Career Options that brought back to mind things I’ve talked about with others for years. Options aren’t always a good thing. Sometimes we can option ourselves out of our own comfort zone!
The idea of options and the freedom to move from one thing to another also means that there’s no pathway to follow. There’s no promotion path. There’s no certainty, or hope of certainty. There are only options.
Most of the time I’m in favor of choices. For five years I wrote about the benefits of options as an RV’er. But within a society there are times when some degree of certainty is desirable. People — most of us anyway — need a few things to hang onto. Right now the controversy in our country happens to be about Healthcare, but that is just one of many topics that we humans obsess about, that we dream about, that we worry about. A person needs some sort of anchors in their life upon which to hang the major events of life: marriage, children, maturity, education, etc.
Young folks today are not going to be able to pattern their lives after the life of their parents; the mold is broken. The opportunity for those lives is over. The way of the future will involve more uncertainty.
You may have seen news stories about one major U.S. corporation that has done away with hiring by resume and job application. Realizing that young folks (and those are the ones they are after — not middle agers seeking to change careers) spend their times on their phones and devices the company has retooled it’s hiring practices around the places that Millennials congregate. Now the “job applicant” doesn’t apply at all. They engage with online adverts, they solve online problems, the ones that are successful move on to more and more complicated quizzes, problem solving challenges and the successful finally get a job offer — all without ever interacting with a human. The HR (Human Resources) professional is nearly a thing of the past. At least at one company. Soon, at many, many, more companies.
I wonder where we’re going as a society. We seem to be making it easier for corporations to make money; but the humans who are working for the corporate machine seem to be treated more and more like spare parts and not like creative assets.
I’m glad I’m out of the workforce. I enjoyed my career when I was working but I see that for me, it’s a good thing I’m out of the picture. I no longer think the way bosses want you to think. I no longer have the stamina to do the crazy things I once did in the pursuit of a paycheck. But to be truthful, the direction we are moving as a society is troubling. When we were RV’ing I was caught up in the lifestyle and busy making plans and living out those plans. Now I have time to think about things again.
Someone asked me the other day if I had given up on publishing Life Unscripted and I tried — briefly — to explain that we are in a state of transition. It seems that daily I’m made more aware of the how RV’ing had changed me — in short term and long terms ways. There were preoccupations that took up a lot of time; there were also insights that forever altered how we see life. I know we’re on a glide path to something different. But I have no idea yet exactly where we are headed. It really has become a Life Unscripted!