Most sound career advice across the spectrum is usually to have a career game plan; a step-by-step procedure to save you from faltering and help you to achieve success in your career. And though, this sounds like the most plausible advice and one that you must follow, you have no clue as to life’s own game-plan for you.
Some of the most successful people in the history of business and certain other fields such as entertainment have reached the top of their respective field without having planned for it. For example, Mark Zuckerberg started out Facebook without any real plan. He and his roommates were students of computer science who loved experimenting. It was their experiment with technology that led to a fun way of staying connected for the students at Harvard. Zuckerberg had not imagined that it would grow into a multi-billion dollar business.
Similarly, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, who founded Google, were only code writers in 1996. They wrote code without knowing how they would convert it into a money-making profession. However, they did it because they loved what they did. It was only in 2002 with AdWords and 2003 with AdSense, that they started making money.
Another example is that of Hollywood star Johnny Depp who wanted to be a musician. It was his quest for finding a better opportunity in music that brought him to Los Angeles, whereupon insistence of his then-wife, he accepted to audition for a role in A Nightmare on Elms Street. The rest is now history.
All these examples bring to fore the point that passion is a clear winner over strategy in the game plan of life and career. In a Harvard Business Review article, Peter Bregman says that sticking to a plan too closely can be dangerous. One must build a certain level of flexibility in the plan and be open to change for a thriving career.
With technology advancing at an unprecedented rate, old job roles are becoming obsolete. The rate at which the working culture and business landscape have evolved over the past ten years has been much faster than previous years. With big data and artificial intelligence in the fray, things are set to evolve at a much faster pace.
For example, working from home was not even a possibility about twenty years ago. Now more and more job functions are evolving to provide that sort of flexibility to employees. In 2001, futurist Ray Kurzweil had said that we are set to achieve 20,000 years worth of progress in the 21st century. Since then, Facebook, Twitter, smartphones and wireless internet have emerged to change the work landscape completely.
As per Moore’s Law, the performance of chip processors doubles almost every 18 months. This gives an example of the exponential rate at which technology is evolving. The expenditure on research and development is rising and so is the importance given to engagement in extracurricular activities from the employees.
Employees who have more in-depth knowledge or who have a wide array of extra-curricular skills are considered to be valuable assets by human resource managers around the globe. For example, all qualifications remaining the same, an employee with experience in public speaking might stand a better chance of getting the available job opportunity.
Similarly, employees who have greater research and development experience, such as data scientists, belong to a niche that is highly in demand for increased innovation capabilities of organizations. Organizations are now looking for thought leaders who have a futuristic approach towards business. As such, nobody with a fixed mindset can really make the cut. An open mindset with a constant learning approach is the current requirement.
This means students and employees must keep themselves constantly updated with technology and new skills. Also, with increased globalization there is wider competition for the same job role, people are transcending geographical barriers to find roles best suited for them. Domestically also, India has approximately 400 million people younger than 23 years and about 65 million children below the age of 15 years (Aswathappa, 2005). India has the largest population of young people at a global level. This speaks volumes about the multitudes of people joining the workforce every year.
What this means
With so much competition to handle and with continuous technology upgrade, it may not be viable for anybody in the workforce to have and to stick to a single career plan. One has to constantly look for new short term courses to expand one’s skill-set and future career options. As per a PWC report, management practices for hiring and retaining talent over the next ten years will evolve alongside the evolving work culture. This will necessitate a revolutionary mindset and vision for the future.