Think Long-Term: You cannot predict the future but you can prepare for it

I didn’t have my first laptop or mobile phone until I was at university. Many things have changed during the past 20 years; many more will change over the next twenty years as we live in a rapidly evolving society. A profession that has provided good prospects until now might be redundant by 2025 (or even earlier). When you assess your career options, you need to use the lens of the future and not the past.

It is impossible, of course, to predict exactly what will happen but here are some expected trends:

  • We will live longer.
  • Our lifestyle will become increasingly digital (continuous access to internet).
  • The world will become even more integrated both economically and culturally (globalization).
  • Technology will replace jobs.
  • Knowledge will be the cornerstone of the global economy and there will be increased competition for high-potential individuals.
  • Virtualization and communication advances will allow more flexible employment. Atthe same time, there will be no clear boundaries between work and leisure.
  • Emerging economies will grow.

How will these trends affect you?

Think long-term

  • You will need to be able to differentiate yourself from the crowd so you should become an expert in a specific field. There is a move from generalists to experts. Employers are already looking for depth rather than breadth. Remember: you compete with talent around the world.
  • Your social network will be a very significant resource for you. You’ll need to take the time and effort to both develop and maintain your social capital both online and offline. Your mentor can help you a lot on this front.
  • Life-long learning will be necessary.  In the fast-moving society we live, you will have to become an expert in a new area every five to ten years. So, be prepared to continuously getting educated during the course of your working life. 
To become successful, you need to get prepared to adapt to the future realities of the labour market. This means that you have to be not only more knowledgeable of the trade-offs of the choices you face but also determined to make decisions and live with their consequences. 
Korina Karampela is the founder of b4iapply, author of 2 books, consultant and speaker. She has been a senior executive in the pharmaceutical industry and has an MBA from MIT Sloan. Her blog is recommended by The Guardian for professional development.
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4 Responses to Think Long-Term: You cannot predict the future but you can prepare for it

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