Where do you see yourself in 5 years? The dreaded interview question is rapidly becoming obsolete. Thankfully!
Millennials believe in spontaneity and flexibility. Gone are the days when you could plot and plan and work out your professional life in advance. With advancements in technology forcing entire professions to rethink their structures, it is all about adjusting to new ways.
Here are 6 reasons why following a fixed career path is outdated
1. It’s not just gadgets but qualifications get obsolete too
The clock is ticking and your time is up. The days when your traditional qualification could see you through your entire career are over. In today’s professional landscape, it’s not just qualifications that are losing their sheen, even positions and entire roles are becoming obsolete.
Advancement in technology is steadily pushing people aside. Which also means no role, no position, and therefore no need for a planned career path. In today’s world, being a jack of all trades and master of none may actually be beneficial!
For instance, if you hold a Masters in Finance, you may now need to understand the world of Fintech and online businesses.
2. The curious case of shifting goalposts
Humans tend to function a certain way – we organise our lives and plan for the future, all the time setting goals for ourselves. Fair enough. But what happens when the goals that we have so meticulously set make little sense because the goalposts have shifted? This is today’s reality.
The goal does not remain a goal anymore because the professional world is evolving unpredictably. It is not just the way to the finish line but also what you get at the finish line that has changed. The only thing that remains constant is, as the cliché goes, change.
Changing consumer buying behaviours, upcoming technologies or socio-economic factors will shape the businesses we work at. Take, for instance, Netflix that was created in 1997 to rent movies on DVD. It now provides streaming media and video on-demand online. When companies undergo massive changes to remain current, employees also tweak their professional goals.
3. It is about realistic, achievable goals
Again, with the fluid professional scenario, you should redefine your personal goals. It is no longer a world where “I want this job title by a certain age” works; the new mantra should be “By the time I am 30 years old, I should be armed with another skill set so that I add value to my position”.
Everyone wants to get to the top, but it is only people who diversify that get to anywhere of consequence. Defining a goal by position, corner-offices or remuneration is very last-decade, it should now be skill-determined, subject expertise and more.
4. Career growth and learning is in the unplanned
Opportunity is as important as that qualification under your belt, maybe more so. Be open to meeting people, volunteering for something that is not your forte, socialising in groups out of your comfort zone, educating yourself in a completely unrelated field, or even taking courses in trendy subjects. You never know when an opportunity comes your way.
A leader in the corporate sector and a teaching assignment comes your way? That may have never happened for our parents, but for us, it can become a reality.
Ditto, with working at startups. Some of the most successful companies started in a garage, now imagine saying no to that!
5. Vertical versus horizontal growth
Traditionally effective, vertical growth translates into the single-minded, eye-on-the-goal climb that you make in pursuit of the top spot in your field of expertise. You want that job title and you get it – one rung of the ladder after the next. This has become quite unfashionable, and millennials are now looking at a ‘horizontal’ pattern of growth. This means adding as well as creating value around oneself while climbing the professional ladder.
Millennials are happy to deviate from the set vertical path, and the professional world today requires that flexibility. So it is not just okay, but beneficial, to take your focus off your target to get what you want.
6. Millennials think differently
Millennials are a different breed, and they think differently. With changed goals, shifting goalposts, altered definitions of targets, and various ways to achieve growth, it is but natural that the millennial will function differently.
They focus more around leading a life with meaning, one that is centred around value and community; instead of being part of the rat race where the traditional metrics of success begin and end with ‘job title’.
Success today is measured differently; it is based on family, happiness, and stability and is no longer defined by being a burnt out top honcho with anxiety issues.
The rat race tiring you out? What did you do about it?