Future-Proof With Micro-Careers

Food for thought: Your current job may no longer exist in 10 years. Yes, that’s quite a bold statement, but here’s why I think we should be prepared for the inevitable. The rate of technological advancement is exponential, yet the way we think about work and career are still very linear. Most future projections indicate that machines/AI will either force us to adapt how we work alongside tech or eliminate some jobs altogether; giving rise to new industries we have yet to consider.

What does this mean for us? Instead of dedicating all of our working years to only learning 1 skill, in 1 industry, in 1 career, we need to shift our focus from climbing up a corporate ladder to building out a web of skills to help us weather the future storm of progress.

So then the question becomes, how do we prepare for a future where the jobs we’ll have in 5-10 years hasn’t even been invented yet? I want to introduce to you the concept of “micro-careers”:

What is a Micro-Career?

A micro-career is a series of either related or unrelated jobs and careers for the purpose of rapid skill acquisition across various industries and verticals. Think of it as training for the modern day renaissance man/woman. We can’t possibly know exactly what will become of the workforce in the future, but having a collection of transferable skillsets across industries is a strong start.

Start thinking about your career as you would a financial portfolio.

Your time and energy are investable assets that you should diversify, prioritize, rebalance, in order to move towards your version of success. If you invest all your time in a single career, you risk losing out on creating a foundation in another career vertical that could prove to be more lucrative in the future. As the job market becomes increasingly more competitive, with new needs and skills required for a future with AI and tech, the risk of becoming redundant is a very real threat if you’re unprepared. The key is to hedge your bets that the future will create jobs that could suit someone with a diverse skillset.

What Micro-Careers are NOT

I’m not encouraging you to jump from job to job like some manic career shark. Jumping ship at the first challenge is NOT what micro careering is about. If you spread yourself too thinly without gaining actual transferrable skills, you’re building a weak career portfolio. Rather, I’m advising that you are very deliberate with the types of skills you want to acquire and integrate into your future career. Some technical skills will take years to master to the point of it being useful (ie, medicine), or some skills you could learn in a few short years (ie, social media marketing). The skills you choose to focus on will depend on how it aligns with your passions, future job trends, and your own ability to grasp each skill.

It’s not about picking the perfect job for 10 years down the line. It’s about picking jobs based on what skills you want to learn, and collectively how future-proof it could be. It’s very rare to find a single job that is ultimately satisfying for all of eternity, but perhaps you could look within your current job/company to learn new skills to help you down the line. Life happens, people change, families grow, your interests change, but knowing you have a great bank of skills to choose from can ensure you are prepared.

Who Are Micro-Careers For?

Everyone. From the new graduate to those in a stable job, it’s never too late to start learning and adapting for a future job market that demands a varied background. A skill is a skill, nobody can take that away from you. Even if you’ve been in a stable job, think about what other skills you can add that will help enhance your current role or even help make the transition to another job. If you’re not sure where to start, consider learning skills that align with your passions.

 

What do you think? Do you think micro-careers will work for you? Why or why not?

The Words We Don’t Speak

When it comes to voicing our love and appreciation for the people in our lives, how much goes unsaid?  Why is it that we go years without telling people how we genuinely feel about them and how much light they bring to our lives? I’ve experienced some heartbreaking losses in my relatively short time on earth….an uncle to stomach cancer, a good friend to suicide, a grandfather to a stroke, and the list goes on. But the one regret I had across all of them, was that I didn’t get to tell them just how much they genuinely gave me strength, support, and love in my life.

Why do we wait until it’s too late before we give voice to the love stirring in our hearts? Is it laziness? Do we just assume they already know? Do we think it’s not worth our breath?  I suppose it’s human nature to always think “there will be a next time”….until there isn’t. The philosopher Seneca said,

“You squander time as if you drew from a full and abundant supply, though all the while that day which you bestow on some person or thing is perhaps your last.”

We are not immortal, and there’s no guarantee you nor your loved ones will be around to hear the words “YOU ARE LOVED.”

I intimately know how short and unpredictable life can be, and probably a big reason I live the way I do. However, there is one practice I’ve started to integrate into my life that has changed how I connect with people – friends and strangers alike – and that’s to always take a moment to directly tell them how much I appreciate them. It takes such little effort on our part but could mean so much to the other person. Speaking your truth and spreading love directly into the hearts of the people we care about has an immediate and lasting effect.

Here’s an easy way you can integrate this practice in your life: When something triggers a thought about a loved one (no matter how random), call/text them to say that you’re thinking of them and share specifically why you appreciate the friendship/relationship. I believe these random thoughts are not random at all, but the universe or our subconscious nudging us to connect. Everyone is living their own struggle, and your words could be the light that gives them strength in a moment of need.

Your words are powerful, use it to cultivate love and connection to those around you.

Life is a Sand Mandala

Years ago, I witnessed my first sand mandala ceremony. What exactly is a sand mandala? A Tibetan Buddhist tradition, sand mandalas involve painstakingly placing millions of colored sand grains into intricate geometric “paintings”. After spending days or weeks to complete the beautiful design, the monks deliberately destroy the mandala to meditate on the impermanence of life. Continue reading “Life is a Sand Mandala”

My Journey from Desk to Deck

I was pretty much as corporate as they come. I spent 10 years of my life working at global media agencies, advertising for major brands, managing multi-million dollar ad spends, and becoming the first head of marketing for a successful fitness start-up. Every summer in college, I interned for major ad agencies in Boston, and even competed against other schools in national advertising pitches (nerd alert!) You could say I was heavily committed to my marketing career. After graduating, I quickly found a job at a top media agency in NYC. Everything was going according to plan.

Continue reading “My Journey from Desk to Deck”