Futures Rambling #81
By Laurie Aznavoorian

After ten and a half years, I have left my job at Geyer. In planning the next chapter of my career journey I have paused to research new cool jobs I might aspire to, this is of course solely as a back-up position in the event my next chosen career as a romance novelist does not take off at an acceptable pace to keep me in beer and skittles. My confidence has been seriously shaken after missing the evident trend, I wrote about Activity Based Work in my article Shades of Gray article when E. L. James made a fortune writing about Fifty Shades of Gray. Go figure.

Apparently we’ll make seven career changes in our lifetimes, how job researchers came up with this number is unclear. It is no surprise changes are more common in younger workers and it is probably younger cohorts that muddy the statistics. As a teen my son worked at: Hoyts, McDonalds, GoLo and Bagel House, all in a two year period, but that could hardly be considered job hopping; never the less, the 15 – 19 age bracket does contribute to statistical results.

My children, both Millennials (born between 1977- 1997) believe I’m insane for staying at a job for ten and a half years. If they are like others in their age group, they will not stay at a job for longer than three years, which equate to 15 – 20 changes in a lifetime. The reason, identified in the Future Workplace “Multiple Generations @ Work” survey is Millennials are looking for job fulfilment; which is apparently more important to younger workers than we older ones who are still paying off said Millennial’s college tuition.

Personally I beg to differ and know more than a few old coots out there who also care about fulfilment, of course what fulfils a 25 year old may not do the same for someone 45, 55 or 65. Age, family situation and life circumstances all play a role in what will make us happy at work, but what we can be assured of, is the necessity to make tradeoffs between the other dimensions of our lives and work e.g. family, social and community, spiritual, physical, material, and hobbies.

We live in an era when employee engagement is a concern for most organisations, as opposed to the days when the prevailing attitude was to be shown the door if you didn’t like your job. Despite this shift in focus, we haven’t got a great track record of making workers happy, a 2013 Gallup report that found 70% of workers are not engaged!

Perhaps you are one of them and like me are thinking of your next gig, if so you may be interested in one of the following new ‘rad jobs’ I’ve been considering:

1. Urban Farmer – This involves farming on rooftops and in underground bunkers. I am going to rule this out as a future career option for me based on the dismal performance of the avocado plant on my deck and the fact that I did nothing – nada – to help with the office rooftop garden.

2. Alternative Reality Architect – Not a bad option given my training in architecture, research, writing and design. Applying this to virtual augmentations, or environments that ‘glassholes’ (people wearing google glass) might inhabit could be very exhilarating.

3. Personality Programmer – Experts suggest well grow tired of Siri’s voice, aren’t we already, which will create a demand for people to program and test different personalities for inanimate objects that talk to us. Options for moonlighting as a new voice abound with this choice you never know when an American accent that sounds like Marge Simpson’s will be all the rage.

4. Organ Agent – As advancements in science make organ donation more common, we’ll require specialist to seek out organ donors. Given past poor performance in convincing co-workers to purchase raffle tickets I believe this option is far from optimal for me.

5. Remote Drone Pilot – New industries will be developing around drone dispatching; people with multi tasking ability might be in high demand! This might be the career for me, multi tasking is my middle name and while I’ve not personally applied myself, the ability to run a game controller is clearly in my genetic makeup if my kids are any indication. The way things are going in Iraq, this could be a sought after skill too providing job protection.

6. Garbage Miner – I though this is what small children did in third world countries? I just thrown out the contents of three containers from the rear of my refrigerator and the miasma nearly made me vomit so I’m disregarding this option.

7. Weather Coordinator – They predict we’ll have the ability to influence and control the weather on Earth, to me is a bit overly futuristic. Despite the amazing advancements in health I don’t see this happening in my lifetime.

8. Organ Farmer – When we begin growing human organs from scratch we will need skilled workers to monitor sterile environment to propagate: hearts, lungs and eyes. Again the failure of my past gardening forays suggests this career might not be working to my strengths.

9. Memory Manipulator – Instead of travelling we will opt to have memories implanted in our brains in the future, saving the planet and avoiding long lines at the airport. This is another future career I am dubious of, why would anyone want to compete with a good old scotch and dry?

You see, there are plenty of options out there all you will need is an open mind and a willingness to consider the advice of experts who suggest the following:

_Forget about security, compensation and location, fulfilment doesn’t come from extrinsic, but intrinsic qualities of the work.
_Visualise your dream job, identify what makes your pulse race.
_Forget about status, it will kill you. A 2002 study of monkeys found those higher in the pecking order died first.
_Don’t think your job will fix something that is wrong with you, the best reason to do something is for the difference you make through it, not because of what it does to you.
_Find a job that’s not a struggle, of course work isn’t easy, but it also doesn’t need to be hard. Play to your natural strengths and talents which will allow you to do your best work.
Finally they urge you make time for exploration and make a choice, take a stand and even though that might be scary or uncomfortable; if it doesn’t work out there’s always a new choice to be made.

Sources:
Kaplan Robert Steven; Reaching Your Potential; HBR Articles July 1, 2008
Moran, Gwen; 4 Reasons Why You Hate Your Job and How To Fix It; Fast Company.com; June 17, 2014
Meister, Jeanne; Job Hopping Is the ‘New Normal’ for Millennials: Three Ways to Prevent a Human Resource Nightmare; Forbes August 14, 2002
The Muse; The Foolproof Guide To Finding True Career Fulfilment; Forbes; August 1, 2013
Woods, David; Top Jobs of the Future; Manolith; June 24, 2013

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