The world of work is changing, in dramatic and radical ways in some areas. It’s easy to cower in fear, get upset about the changing of the guards, or become more and more bitter about all the things that we’ve lost.
I’m certainly not above the wailing and feeling depressed. But I find that it helps when I choose to look—also—at the opportunities that this evolving world provides us.
Technology, the Culprit
One of the things I appreciate about living in this world of ours is that the rules have changed. Technology changed the rules.
You may think me a Pollyanna but hear me out.
It is true that technology automated a lot of things. In the process, it made several jobs unnecessary, and lots of people lost their spots in the world.
But the same technology that wiped out certain industries and companies (e.g., Kodak, Blockbuster) also created new industries and new fields of work that did not exist twenty, fifteen, ten years ago (e.g., Instagram, Netflix).
Technology brought down walls. It lowered barriers to entry. It made things that used to be out-of-reach, totally within our grasp. If we choose to reach for them.
Today, we no longer need to wait to be picked. Unless we want to.
We no longer need to stand in a queue to be told what to do and where to go. Unless we want to.
We no longer need to wait our turn.
It’s our turn. It has always been our turn. Only now, we actually have the means and the resources within reach so that we can do something with our chance at-bat.
In our world, the gatekeepers no longer wield as much power as they did before.
Technology made it easier for us to have a choice. If we stepped up to it and owned it, we’re now the decision-makers.
We have the pen. We can write our own stories.
If you’re creative and want to share your art with the world, you no longer need to be chosen by the big name stores to be able to showcase your creations. You can set up your online shop through your own website. Or you can join a platform like Etsy.com and find your audience there.
If you have a book in you and want to share your writing with the world, you no longer need to be deemed worthy by big-name publishers. You can self-publish your book and release your work through Kobo, Amazon, and iBooks.
If you want to teach and help others, you can set up your online school at places like Teachable, Udemy, or Skillshare. Or you can simply upload your homemade tutorial videos on YouTube, reach the audience you want to reach and build a community that way.
If you have skills that can be useful for others, you can freelance (full-time or on the side) at places like Reedsy or Upwork.
You can choose to be a consultant, a music DJ, or start your own start-up.
Find Your Spot
“But I don’t want to start a business,” you say.
And you don’t have to.
There is merit in wanting to work and grow professionally within the four walls of a company. Not everybody needs to be their own boss.
You’re allowed to shine wherever you want to shine.
The great thing about today’s world is that you don’t have to work for that company whose business practices stand in stark contrast to your values and principles. There are other companies and other industries. You have a choice.
You don’t have to work for that boss who does not value what you bring to the table. There are other managers elsewhere. You have a choice.
You don’t have to work with people who pull your spirits down, who don’t support your growth, or who don’t respect who you are. There are other places to work and teams to join. You have a choice.
The Answer is Within.
As with everything else, finding the answers starts with becoming aware. Asking the right questions.
Being willing to take up the pen and writing your own career plot.
What do you want to do?
How do you want to apply your skills and talents?
What would make you come alive? Inspired? Wanting to bound out of bed in the morning so you get to do what you love to do?
Where are your values aligned? What’s important to you? What problems do you want to help solve?
What would a meaningful career look like to you? Where would you like to shine?
If you’re thirsty enough, the world is ready for you more than ever before. Go. —Seth Godin
Our world needs something new from each one of us.
It asks us to show up. To bring our true self. To share our best work. To find our own paths.
It’s your turn. What are you going to do with it?