There is no box. Don’t think around it.
Today’s middle schoolers will have jobs that have not been invented yet. While millennials are still adapting to the disruptive environment and businesses are adapting to the disruption that millennials want to cause, there is an element of the future that needs to be addressed today. Except for basic jobs like doctors, policeman, fireman, carpenter et cetera; many current jobs and industries might vanish by the time they enter the job market. So, how and what should they be prepared for?
Don’t play safe
Until a few years back, parents had a common expectation from their children–to get married and have a job in a relevant industry – a safe sector. That was their mantra for a good life.
The generation which started working in the 2000s saw all these beliefs shattered. Bankers lost jobs, internet startups saw their savings go bust; and agencies be it travels or others were wiped out by digital platforms. The working populace across generations now recognize that a ‘permanent job is a myth’. They are willing to learn and change.
Tomorrow’s workforce might have to do much better than that. They cannot afford to watch the world change and strategize survival. They have to either move with the change or be the change, in order to stay relevant. Like Thomas Friedman said, “Do not ask your kids what they want to be when they grow up. Ask them how they want to be.” The answer is agile. They have to evolve, constantly learn, shed their beliefs regularly. In an ideal situation, they should have no prejudices to start with, if possible. So much so, the phrase ‘think outside the box’ won’t even exist. They should think all around the place, as if a box never exists.
The element of failure
The grandparents of tomorrow’s generation had a point. They wanted their children to play safe, so that they do not fail. Today, since there are few or no ground rules for success, there is high chance of failure. The generations of tomorrow will have to be ready for failure, take it in their stride and buck up soon after. This is where it gets tricky.
All the apps, GPS and predictability has taken away the element of surprise away from people’s lives. Few baby boomers or millennials ever try a new restaurant without checking its ratings and reviews. They can research all about their blind date days in advance. In fact, apps will tell you if a person they could possibly find attractive, might be five minutes away as well. All these ‘facilities’ have made life easier to a point of luxurious convenience. How can people who live such comfy ever prepare themselves for failure?
Technology is not God
A few weeks back, a picture when viral on social media. A shop keeper around in Goa put a banner saying ‘This is not the correct route to reach Baga Beach. Google Maps is wrong.” It was a man bite dog story for social media, that Google Maps can be wrong. While some weren’t surprised, many were. It shows that they were shocked that Google could go wrong, without recognizing that technology can fail too.
Uday Kotak, the chairman of Kotak Mahindra Bank said that the young people of today have never seen or experienced a major crisis in their lives. It means they do not what despair and failure feels like. Yet, the very foundation of the disruption, which is technology can and could fail as all models not matter how smart or intelligent are based on assumption. And, assumptions could go wrong.
For the youngest people alive today, future is filled with uncertainty more than ever. But like Doc Brown from Back to the Future said, “Your future is what you make it. So, make it a good one.” Whether they make technology failure proof or armour their hearts and minds for failure, is up to them. As long as it is a good one!