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?