How to Talk Career to the Next Generation

At our age, we have a lot to share with our kids and grand kids about career advice. But I hesitate because I doubt if my experience in a different generation is still relevant. For example, I worked for the same company for almost a quarter of a century. By today’s standards, that would certainly be an outlier. But having survived the internet revolution, here are some ideas on what career advise to give.

  • Just as the internet revolution upended many traditional career paths, the next generation will see change at a far greater rate. The development of Artificial Intelligence on computers that are powerful enough to make “human-like” decisions at speeds that humans cannot match – will change the way the next generation work and live. Many of the jobs that were “protected” from the internet revolution ranging from doctors and lawyers to bus drivers — will be at risk of being replaced by technology – at least partially in the next several decades.
  • As technology disrupts the nature of work in Singapore, our future generation will likely change jobs and companies at a faster pace than anytime before. To survive, companies will have to make it through rapid up-and-down cycle. Unfortunately, from a human resource perspective, that means a lot of hiring and firing cycles. Expect the next generation entering the workforce to change companies many times in their working life – that would be the new normal.
  • When you graduate from a polytechnic or university, there is often a feeling that you have completed your education and ready to go to work. This traditional educational pathway is not enough. Since technology is evolving rapidly, you have to continuously adapt by keeping abreast with new skills. In many cases, it means that in whatever field you are in, you will need to continue to upgrade your skill and knowledge. In extreme cases, you may even have to retrain to adopt completely new skills midway in your career. To survive the future – keeping your skills up to date is a must.
  • Tell your kids and grand kids to anticipate the type of jobs that technology cannot displace, at least in the next 30-40 years and build careers in that direction. From today’s perspective, technology still cannot replace jobs that require creative and abstract thinking, human and emotive interface, leadership, diplomacy and other aspects of human life as we know it – that technology cannot make better or faster. As the world around us becomes more technology oriented, there will always be room and appreciation for things that are “human”.

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