Many of the jobs that today’s children will eventually hold have not yet been created. Photo/Getty Images
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opinion: When I was a child, one question always seemed to come up in conversations with adults: “What do you want to be when you grow up?” That was the question
Which can fill you with fear or excitement. But it is also a question that is increasingly irrelevant in today’s rapidly changing world.
It carries with it the assumption that our identity and worth are tied to our career choices. It suggests a linear path of life where we study, work, retire, and die. This may be the model we grew up with, but it is bleak and restrictive, leaving no room for the fluidity and flexibility that have become necessary in the modern world.
Michelle Obama, in an interview with Oprah Winfrey in 2019, aptly described this question as “the worst question in the world.” “As if growth is limited. As if you become something and that’s that.”
Mauro Guillén, author Perennials: The mega trends creating a post-generational society. He also argues against this conventional thinking. He believes the question puts undue pressure on young people and limits their potential. In a world where technology and the economy are developing at an astonishing speed, many of the jobs that today’s schoolchildren will eventually hold have not yet been created.
Guillén criticizes the traditional sequential model of play, study, work and retirement. He argues that he is a ruthless model and leaves behind those who do not fit neatly into his timeline. It is a conveyor belt model designed for men who spend their lives in the workforce, and do not understand the reality of others, such as mothers or early school leavers.
What we need now is to constantly improve skills or take breaks to return to school to learn more skills, Guillén says. After all, we live in a world where artificial intelligence is rapidly changing the way we work and the skills we need to succeed in the modern workforce. In the new world order, continuous improvement of skills and lifelong learning are the keys to success. Instead of pigeonholing ourselves into one career for life, we should be open to multiple career paths, learning new skills and adapting to change. Emotional intelligence, critical thinking, and collaboration are becoming more important than technical knowledge.
Guillén challenges the outdated focus on generational differences. He thinks age has nothing to do with it. The concept of “generations” is “nonsense.” Instead, he proposes the concept of “perennials,” a term coined by tech entrepreneur Jenna Bell — an ever-thriving group of people of all ages, walks, and types who transcend stereotypes and forge connections with each other and are not defined by their families. . generation.
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Being labeled as a millennial is definitely a deviation from how we’re used to thinking about ourselves, especially when the internet is full of jokes about the “millennial pause” and opinion pieces about why Generation Z is the most difficult generation to work with.
However, there’s a lot to like about the idea of being permanent: having a career where you can reinvent yourself, try new things, and work on the frontiers of technological change. This doesn’t necessarily mean we have to abandon the quirks of millennial culture or care about learning Gen Z slang, although the latter would likely go a long way to fostering mutual understanding.
At the same time, the promise of these industries being permanent appears to be open only to a narrow group of financially secure workers in knowledge industries. For everyone else, the pace of automation and AI growth probably means sustainability being forced upon you as it overtakes your career and forces you to retrain to make ends meet. The jury is still out on whether we millennials will want to retire (or even be able to afford it) if we choose to embark on a stimulating journey of lifelong learning.
However, the prospect of embarking on a new career at 50 is truly intimidating, as is the idea of being managed by a 25-year-old. The question should also be whether Millennials and Generation Z will be more likely to embrace the perpetual mindset – we are the most resilient of our time, having grown up in a rapidly evolving digital age. But whether we look forward to it or not, the fact is that technology will upend the way we work.
Maybe the first step is to stop asking children what they want to be when they grow up, and replace it with something like: “What are you interested in?” In a constantly changing world, we are all perennials, forever evolving.