Every now and then I cannot help myself from climbing onto a hobby horse.
Generally speaking, I am quite placid. But I can be set off rather easily by an alarming number of triggers. So people who know me well would roll their eyes at the very thought of me describing myself as placid! In fact, they would have this to say: 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣
But I digress.
My current hobby horse is about the motivational snippets I have been viewing that urge young adults to stop dreaming, to get their act together because hey, they are in senior year now and nearly done with studying. And what do they plan to do?
Firstly, never stop dreaming! What awful, awful advice. Dreams are what fuel plans and action. Keep dreaming! Secondly, it’s okay to not have a plan. Some people know from day one what they want to do with their lives, some from an extraordinary young age. I have always admired people like that. But most people don’t have a clue and that can be a good thing. We are living in an age of great change and all the pundits predict that many of the in-demand jobs in 5 – 10 years time have not even been created yet.
With artificial intelligence (AI) on the rise, skills such as complex problem solving, critical thinking, creativity and life long learning to name just a few, are the skills that are predicted to be in demand in just 2 to 3 years time. Why? Because these are the skills that will be required to augment AI. If you haven’t yet seen the Google assistant making phone calls demo, hop on over here and take a look, it’s scarily brilliant!
I have been having some very interesting conversations with young adults lately, my daughter included. They do have plans. And a number of these young adults are planning to study for as long as they can, a number of them plan to study for a minimum of five, maybe six years. Perhaps study abroad for a year. And to intern along the way to gain as much practical experience as possible.
They are in no rush to start working. And why should they be? These young people have a predicted life expectancy of well over 100 years! So why start work in your early twenties; why get married in your early twenties; and why get into debt in your early twenties?
This was the plan for baby boomers, when life expectancy was well below 100 years. And how has that plan worked out? Not great. Mainly because the plan hasn’t changed and yet the world has moved on. Baby boomers are now healthier at 70 than their parents were and are expected to live closer to 100 than previously predicted, their parents are healthier and living closer to 100 than previously predicted and yet retirement age remains at 60 – 65. So what to do with another 20 or so years?
The plan has been skewed in a big way. And it seems to me that the world is hoping that if we continue to ignore it, it will go away.
But if you have hair greying at the temples or a few crows feet crinkling at the corners of your eyes, then you are already too old for that next job. I work for a blue chip corporate whose aspirational tag line is “what’s your next?”. Well, mine ain’t another corporate job, because my next will have to be one of my own making. Of course there are exceptions (yes, I can hear you all mutter), but this is not about the exceptions, no matter how many there are of you. It’s about the majority and the latest ism; ageism.
But I digress again.
The hobby horse I am riding is really about us giving the young as much space as they need to find themselves, to find their purpose. And to understand that many will take a circuitous route before they find their purpose. And to understand that their life purpose can change. Because life is a long, complex journey. And it has become a lot longer and so much more complex with the new AI age dawning. But what has not changed is that life is there to be lived and to be experienced. And we who have travelled much of that journey already will understand that nobody else can travel the journey for us, because then it is not our journey.
My heart goes out to the young people of today. The road ahead is scary, because it is a road that has not been traveled before. But it will also be exciting and full of opportunity. My advice is to keep your mind open, to seek opportunity and to not fear the unknown, because it is in the unknown that growth may be found. And yes, there may also be failure, but do not fear failure. Failure is a great teacher and can be a great motivator too. Choose to make failure your ally and it will become a faithful servant.
So where am I going with this? It shouldn’t only be the young who should be preparing for the new age of AI. My daughter asked me if I weren’t afraid that the robots will take over the world? And my tongue in cheek reply was not really, because it’s unlikely to happen in my lifetime. But the question is, won’t it?
Until next time☕️