Some people love going to work. Others go to work just so they can pay the bills.
But whether you think work is awesome or you hate it with a passion, it’s important to stay up with the play so, as work changes in the future, you keep your job.
And work is changing a lot. You might have heard about robots taking over humans’ jobs, or how ‘the future is technology’. If a machine takes over your job, like in a warehouse or a petrol station, you might be worried about your future. If you’re not even sure how to turn on a computer let alone understand what ‘artificial intelligence’ is, you might be worried about learning new technology.
So how do you stay up-to-date with all the changes that happen at work so you keep your job in the future?
Robots Have Got Nothing on You
These days, technology is a part of pretty much every job. From robots that work in warehouses to air taxis that don’t have pilots, to fridges in restaurants that automatically record temperatures, artificial intelligence (AI) is good for business because it can speed up processes and cost less than hiring people does.
But some people worry that if robots take over humans’ jobs, there won’t be enough jobs to go around. The answer is to be ready for when technology comes to your company. Be a supporter of change and be willing to learn more skills as processes change. The more you cooperate and are willing to change, the more secure your job will be and the more likely you’ll be given another job in the same company. The more you moan about change, the less likely your boss will want to keep you on.
Going Back to School
The first obvious way to upskill in your career is to keep learning. Just because you’ve finished your formal education, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t continue learning. No one knows all there is to know about an industry or their job, so it makes sense to make the most of any further education.
Whether you left school at 15 or you completed a diploma at MIT, there are always opportunities to learn more. You could enrol in a post-graduate diploma in a subject that fits with your current job or participate in leadership training that’s offered through your company. Education doesn’t have to impact your job either; you could even take a night course in something that simply floats your boat.
Not only will further education teach you new things, important people will start noticing you and hopefully offer you more opportunities and promotions.
If you don’t like the job you’re in, think about talking to a career coach, a life coach or an expert in your industry. This could be someone whose job is to help people find direction in their lives, or it could be someone like an apprentices site foreman, head nurse or owner/manager of an independent mechanic who has been on the job for a while and knows a thing or two about the industry.
Max Harré is a career adviser from Forté Careers who has helped hundreds of people find jobs they love and are good at. He and his wife, Fran, have also written a book called Work Passion Power: Strategies for a Working Life You Will Love. He says that asking for direction could help people figure out how to deal with work as it changes in the future.
“If you’re unsure of your real skills and interests or if you think you may need help getting into the career you want, it could be time to talk,” says Max. “Huge issues we see these days include critical thinking or creative problem solving, how to build relationships you need to find the work you want, and self-management.”
Career coaches and experts in their fields can help you find skills and passions you didn’t know you had, and help you figure out what you want to do with your life. Sometimes they might suggest learning more about your current job. Other times they might recommend a more drastic change like enrolling in a new degree, applying for a new job or starting your own business.
Have Supportive Friends
One way to become a better worker and happier in your job is to surround yourself with inspiring people. Connecting with people who can help make your future happen can do wonders for your career. If you haven’t got a LinkedIn profile already, sign up today and start connecting with the people you work with now, the people you used to work with, people you meet at work events, and other people who inspire you. LinkedIn is not like Facebook though so keep your posts professional.
Networking groups like BNI can give people plenty of professional opportunities too. BNI groups meet weekly and only have one member from any industry in each group, which means if you’re a mechanic, builder or cafe owner (or whatever), you’ll be the only one in your group. Members are encouraged to hire the people in their group when they can, so if your car is broken down, you’d ask the mechanic in your group - and if you are the mechanic, you’ll get new business. Find a group near your place and find out more about how BNI works.
Some organisations like churches and community groups also offer regular business get-togethers for people looking for inspiration.
Going it Alone
There are more than half a million entrepreneurs and self-employed people in New Zealand - that’s almost 20% of our workforce. If working for ‘The Man’ just isn’t working for you, starting your own business or becoming a contractor could be a good option.
Maybe you have a skill that you could outsource to other businesses like graphic design or building. You might have a big idea that could change the world or earn you big money. You might just want more flexibility so you can spend more time with your family.
Whatever your reason for becoming self-employed, it’s important to remember that it’s not easy. There are plenty of things that you need to think about, like paying tax and hiring staff. If you want to do your own thing, the Sorted website has a lot of useful information to help you get started.
Making Work Work for You
Work is one of those things that you’re always going to have to deal with, even if you don’t like it. But have you ever thought that if you don’t like your job, maybe it’s time for a change? (Or maybe it’s time to change your attitude?)
We spend at least eight hours of our day at work so it pays to enjoy it. If you look for opportunities to become better in your job, be open to change and take risks when needed, you’ll enjoy work much more. And if your job or career changes in the future, you’ll be more likely to keep your job.