Surf The Waves Of Change

In order to thrive in this changeable environment we need to keep our eyes peeled on the latest developments, and be more agile and proactive in what we do in response.

Be worldwise

The fluid reality outlined in Topic 1 continues to change at an accelerating rate.  It requires us to continuously recalibrate – be on the lookout for the new trends and proactively manage our lives and careers.  A ‘set-and-forget’ approach, such as learning a trade and living off it for the rest of your life, is no longer viable.  The good news is that it is much easier to identify emerging trends and keep on top of rising waves in this age of the internet with government, university, and organisational research and reports online.  Sources of information include:

Active citizenship

According to the JCU Graduate Attributes, we acquire higher education to become a more aware and influential citizen (active citizen) in order to shape the environment we work and live in to better serve our individual and collective needs.  You have agency to shape trends by taking actions aligned with your values.  You can do so by your informed voting choices, your influence (an industry lobby body, industrial unions, becoming an Influencer on LinkedIn or in the media), how you shape the community around you by volunteering, what causes you support by your investment, or shopping/procurement choices.  Considering and exercising your choices and taking actions will also lead you to further career-enhancing self-insights.

Agility and resolve

If we constantly have to adapt, where do we find some stability?  While your methods (your what and how) may constantly evolve in response to the changing world, your values and your purpose (your why) usually change very slowly.  Reflection is important and reminds you of why you are doing something, and will help with your resilience to continue your efforts at times of crisis or doubt.  It may also help you realise that your current life and professional activities no longer reflect your values and that it is time for a change.  Directions and motivations are discussed in more detail in the You and Your Career module in the JCU Employability Edge program.

Proactive career management

Alongside your understanding of emerging trends and new skills, it also helps to be on the lookout for interesting jobs, emerging professions, and new organisations for future reference.  If you keep reviewing and saving them in a folder, you will keep on top of the labour market evolution, including any new skill gaps you may need to address to stay employable.  When you are ready for change, go through the KODE cycle process covered in the You and Your Career: Career Choices module, and make transitions based on existing experience and skills that can be deployed in new ways.  When you want to action a career change, you don’t always need to start a new undergraduate degree at university.  You can address skill gaps through professional short courses, a MOOC, or a post graduate qualification.  You can also gain experience in the new field through online activities, such as creating your own website, taking up challenges on community platforms (Kaggle or GitHub), volunteering, or strategically engaging in current workplace projects that allow you to develop those new skills and experience.

T-shaped development

We live in an environment filled with conflicting messages – that only specialising in a narrow STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) field, or conversely only doing generalist study, will secure you a successful career.  However, the reality is that you need both – broad general knowledge allowing you to make novel connections in order to be more effective in your specialised field. In other words, you need to become a T-shaped person.  Hybrid jobs are a unique interdisciplinary combination of skills and types of expertise that may give you an employability edge for a period of time. Therefore, following your diverse interests and engaging in a varied range of electives, an interdisciplinary minor, or an ‘exotic’ extra-curricular experience will help you get there.

Action: Go to your downloaded workbook and complete Activity 1

Additional Resources