The 21st Century World of Work

How we think about, engage with and carry out our professional lives has changed dramatically over the past 15 years. Every one of us who has ever checked our work emails, responded to an IM or worked remotely when we should have been asleep, chatting with friends, playing with kids, eating a meal or on holidays understand this change and know two things;

  1. The boundaries between work and life have totally blurred and 
  2. What we want from our careers has changed.

Yet the wider conversation around managing this permanent state of professional flux lags far behind. Not to mention the expectation that by 20, 30, 40 and so on you should have achieved certain things puts pressure on people. This notion of one job for life benchmarked by specific milestones related to age is all but gone. It is replaced by constant change and professional progression across different fields of expertise at different points in your career. Take into account recent research from Morgan McKinley and The World Economic Forum which shows that: 

The average person now changes career six times before retiring and moves jobs 12 times before age 42.

The 21st-century workplace operates in a fundamentally different way to the suited and booted hierarchical world of work we are taught about in school. With over 12,000 job categories to choose from and the half life of a skill sitting at 5 years the range of professional options available is at once impressive and confusing. In this context, job change and career transition is not just normal it is expected.  

Consider this in light of the fact that

50% of the jobs that we will be doing in 2030 have not yet been created. Who knows what exciting opportunities are out there in the future?

Wanting to change, pivot or transition in your career so that you strike a better blend between work and life and derive more meaning from your work is natural. Yes, it feels uncomfortable, yes it is stressful and yes it is hard to do however it is not a sign of failure. Rather it is a natural reaction to the constant change that is happening in the working world around you.

Remember is that 70% of people can do 70% of jobs, however, happiness in your chosen career area comes down to your level of interest and passion in that career. Therefore, the ideal job, occupation or career is one that you find interesting, challenging and for which you have the most suitable mix of abilities.