Careers of the Future, Auntie
My 12-year-old niece can’t decide if she should be an architect, an interior designer, or a journalist. Considering that experts say most people will have five to seven careers in a lifetime (and I am on my third career myself), it’s likely my niece may actually work in all three fields.
Recently, a webinar on The Future of Work, where the panelists discussed how our work life will change by 2020, made me ponder how much our careers will be changing in the coming decade. This might sound like a long way off, but it’s really only eight years away, and many of our nieces and nephews will be entering the workforce around this time. You’ve seen the volatility in the workplace in recent years with the recession and high unemployment, Auntie. So what will the future bring, both for us aunts, and for our nieces and nephews?
Our population is aging, and advances in healthcare mean people are living longer. The number of Americans will be over the age of 60 by 2025, an increase of 70%. Baby Boomers will stay in the workforce longer than their older counterparts, and they will pursue further training for “encore” careers. This means Baby Boomer Aunties might find themselves sitting in the same classroom as their own college-bound nieces and nephews. Of course, if you’re a Baby Boomer Auntie, you may not even sit in a physical classroom, since more and more universities and colleges offer online classes.
Since Baby Boomers are delaying retirement to beef up their 401K’s, Generation Xers who want managerial roles are becoming more likely to jump ship for a bigger job instead of waiting around for the Baby Boomers to leave. This affects the workplace cycle for us Aunties already working, and for nieces and nephews who will be starting jobs several years from now.
To be successful in the workplace of the present and future, it will be essential for all of us – Aunties as well as nieces and nephews – to have some additional tools in our toolkits:
Adaptability. The ability to adapt to our situations, current work environments, the people around us, and new technology will be keys to success. A great relationship with your nieces and nephews can help you here, Auntie, as they can keep you up to date on all the newest technology!
Cross-Cultural Competency. Just like in kindergarten, we have to know how to play well with others. We have more generations in the workplace than ever before, and with social media, cloud technology and more, we can literally work with people all over the world. Teaching good etiquette and cultural sensitivity to your nieces and nephews from a young age will help them excel in the long run.
Media and Technology Literacy. Technology is rapidly changing. Just look at iPads and how the tsunami of tablet technology has swept through the workplace and our personal lives. Workers are expected to keep up with new technology and innovations. No pressure! Nieces and nephews can also help keep you Savvy on the latest gadgets, Auntie.
Stress Management. One thing most of these studies and reports never mention is stress management. As we continue to be bombarded by information, technology changes, and an ever-changing global workplace, we need to make sure we take care of ourselves and take regular vacations. Remember to be a stress management role model that for your nieces and nephews.
Published on May 3, 2012