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Monday, September 3, 2012

Jobs of the Future


When speaking with a current job-seeker, she said “while I was working, the working world changed!” This seasoned individual is finding her specific experience is not of interest to employers in today's job market. With a dozen years in responsible internal analyst roles, what arcane experience and skills are being ignored by potential employers?

She was one of an army of analysts who collect data from a variety of sources, do basic analytics, and create reports of the results to send on to another section for further processing and analysis – the role might be viewed as an interim consolidator and analytic reporter.

I also spoke with a guy working on a maturing grant, his role is 'critical checker' – data comes from four unrelated databases, is consolidated on a spreadsheet, with three think-tank analysis units manually transferring the data to word processing or statical software, reports and attachments from the units are returned in a similarly uncoordinated format. The critical checker verifies the data to assure it is error-free after being moved to a different platform. Imagine, a manual check of massive data multiple times because of work-arounds in using the technology. He does this data check at every stage out and back!

Jobs that consist of simply moving paper, or checking the computer's addition are evaporating – they are being replaced by technology. Systems and software handle more of the intake, data consolidation, basic analytics, report generation, and distribution. New approaches, like Big Data and Splunk, permit consolidation of data from multiple sources and formats, and related tools make even complex analysis manageable for us mere mortals. Long ago, sponge divers experienced a similar realization as the technology of the cellulose sponge replaced the natural sponge.

The Doers' Theorem says a person must update their experience portfolio and technical knowledge every three years to keep up with the job market – things are changing that fast!

What does the job of the future look like?

  • It can not (yet) be done economically by computer or automation
  • It requires a physical presence to accomplish results
  • It adds value to the product or service produced
  • It requires judgment, knowledge, and interpretation as critical inputs
  • It embraces technology (not the equipment but how it is used) to achieve outcomes
  • It is eternally assessing improvement for faster, better, more accurate results requiring less resources
  • It directly satisfies the need or want of the customer/client, or is in direct support of the satisfaction thereof
  • It is dynamic, not static – if you are not improving, you are slipping behind.

For example, today this could include people working with their hands – carpenters, plumbers; with their presence – care givers, clinical specialists and doctors; with their creativity – programmers and artists; with their vision and decision-making – leaders, department heads; with their commitment – the inventor, entrepreneur; to name several.

In a role where you are adding value - from areas such as your knowledge, insight, creativity, relevant experience, ability to translate the theoretical into the executable, your persistence in pursuing results – you are in a stronger situation as jobs evolve.

But – nothing is stagnant – no longer can you graduate from school and stop learning, or just attend a workshop every couple of years – the New Normal is about the evolution of technology and working roles...it's about applying new tools to reduce resources and improve accuracy and acceptable quality. It's about collaboration and working independently as an individual (like the two characters in Makers).

If you trade your car for a newer model with style changes and improvements in performance every few years, why wouldn't you upgrade yourself as often – new skills, new experiences, new knowledge.

And, if you are doing all this work on improvement, don't overlook the opportunity to showcase the 'new you' – update your LinkedIn, GovLoop, and Google Plus profiles to let the world know!

Lead the change – don't be caught by it.

What's your take on 'jobs of the future'? Care to add to the list?
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