Think about This: Focus on Acquiring new skills, Not a new Title
Madison writes on how to shift our attitudes in this ever-changing career landscape.
As we grow up, people will ask:
"What do you want to do? Who do you want to be? What job should you set your sights on?"
These questions may not always be offered with softness or curiosity, but a more pragmatic sensibility. A sort of "what title can we ascribe to you now, young one, so we can be assured that you'll make a valuable contribution to society?"
Of course, these queries are understandable. With so many people in the world, an early comprehension of skills is logical - it helps us build an appropriate path, provide the right support, and funnel us off into the right kinds of educational institutions. However, the people asking us these terrifying, existential questions are generally (insert apology here) our parents - people who grew accustomed to working one job for the entirety of their professional lives. This, of course, is not the case on our end - data reveals that the average gen Z-er can expect to change careers at least 2 to 3 times.
So, the question holds; how can we set our sights on positions that quite possibly haven't been invented yet? How can we posit goals upon things we don't yet understand? The world is growing - perhaps shrinking, if you think about it - rapidly, and many once-unstoppable institutions are restructuring, rebranding...reconsidering, everything.
To start, our global perspectives couldn't be more in demand. Over the past decade, we have been exponentially thrust into a society of interconnectedness, stimulation and constant contemplation. Everything is changing, some would say, because nothing is certain. Fluidity - and how we respond to it, perhaps - is the new way forward in our direct-to-consumer world.
Which is why, at least on a personal level, my attempts to find something sturdy in a prospective job title, field of study or label seem short-sighted. What if we, the next generation of working professionals, chose to focus on the skills that mattered most, instead of the fancy titles?
Instead of wishing to be a magazine editor, what if we set our sights on learning to code, interview critically, and hone the skills necessary to put together a remarkable team? Or perhaps, instead of "CEO," we thought about being financially literate, fluent in several languages, and cultivating a deeper sense of empathy and inclusivity by working with open-minded, nurturing groups of people? This way, as the world continues to develop, we will more effortlessly be able to respond to these changes as we've allowed ourselves to grow with an open mind.
So, next time you find yourself worrying over "what's next," think about this. What do you want to understand next? What do you want to be better at?
Don't focus on blanket statements and titles built for right now - they may be exactly where you'll end up, but you'll be all the better if you focus on creating the best building blocks for the house that is your life instead of obsessing over the artist's rendering.