Think about the workplace ten years ago. The first iPhone was only a few months old and there probably wasn’t “an app for that”. Open floor plans hadn’t yet become a privacy-busting phenomenon. And people weren’t obsessed with “the cloud”.
Certainly, smart devices, cloud-based platforms and the way we work have been transformed over the past decade. We’re changing jobs more often – now, more often because we want to. And the breakneck speed of technology is once again transforming the way we will work.
But it’s hard to know exactly what the workplace will look like ten years from now, so keeping yourself marketable and relevant for a long career is a constant process of evaluation, education and adaptation. Here’s what you need to do to keep yourself prepared for – and even ahead of – what comes next.
1. Pay attention to what’s going on in (and outside of) your industry
The first thing you need to do is evaluate the best sources of information about your industry or career path. What conferences, organisations, websites, publications or other resources have the best and most insightful information and resources? Connect with those resources so that you’re staying apprised of the information they have to offer.
Beyond that, you should also be watching innovation in other industries. Technology and process innovation aren’t typically limited to one sector. For example, if you’re in marketing, keep an eye on what’s happening in finance. Could the machine learning and automated approaches to checking out customers’ financial health give you clues about better targeting your market?
When you explore different areas, you never know what you’ll find that’s relevant.
2. Schedule check-ups twice a year
You probably go for a medical check-up every year or two. You get your car serviced regularly. But are you scheduling time to ensure that your own skills and education are up to date? If not, that’s a mistake. Focus your personal strategic plans on two to three years, because ten years is too far out to predict accurately. Similarly, professionals need to re-evaluate every couple of years to make sure that whatever skills you’re working on, they’re still the skills you think you should be working on.