A couple of weeks ago, I discovered the writings of Taylor Pearson. I first came across “The Retirement Catch-22: Why Those Who Want to Retire Most, Can’t” and through that “The Commoditization of Credentialism: Why MBAs and JDs Can’t Get Jobs“. The reason it resonated with me is that it provided the larger context of what I had written about in The Entrepreneur & The Professional and Re: Skill.
The first (Pearson) post notes how the industrialisation of education makes us take a finite game approach to career, but how, in the entrepreneurial economy, approaching your career as an infinite game is not only more fun, but safer and more profitable. In his other post, he introduced me to the Cynefin model, (image via) as he applied it to one’s career. I thought it made for a fantastic framework of the future of work.
Pearson writes that technology and globalisation are causing business environments to move from Obvious and Complicated to Complex and Chaotic. In my posts, I had also brought up the entry of a younger generation of workforce who seem to be relatively much more wired for complex and chaotic as compared to mine. (generalisation) Much of that can be attributed to us spending the preceding parts of our career on the right side of the grid. Stability and scale called for a different approach, but that has changed. There are two parts to the bad news. If we continue on the right side, the businesses themselves might become irrelevant , as would we. The shift to the left is far from easy, the baggage has been around for a long while!
This shift though, is inevitable. My understanding, some of which I shared in Reframing Employment, has been this. Credentialism as an approach is not working out because the pace of change makes the rate of irrelevance higher! To make my career anti-fragile, I have to take an entrepreneurial approach to it. No, I don’t have to become an entrepreneur, but I have to approach myself as a product (er, in the context of my career, that is) that finds an area of need-gap which it can fill, iterates on skills and constantly looks for adjacency areas. The first part does require some credentials, but its shelf life is much lesser these days. (an indicator of this is the rise of microlearning platforms) Also, like every other product, competition need not be the historically defined one, but one that achieves the same purpose in a completely different way. Survival, therefore, would depend on one’s adaptability. The good news is, I think we’re wired for survival.
P.S. The funny thing, something I wrote back in 2012 also mentions building a comfort level with uncertainty. I think I forgot the lesson for a bit!