Stay Current, Stay Relevant
You may have heard relatives speak of retiring from a job they held for 20 or 30 years. You may have wondered or even asked what they did for a living only to find out that you have no idea what they’re talking about. Either you’ve never heard of their profession or it seems to be something no one in today’s world does. That’s because the days of going to a job and doing the same thing for decades are basically gone. Similarly, the skills you use at work today are not the skills you’ll need to keep that job in a few years’ time. Yes, your skillset or your job will become obsolete at some point in the future and you’ll have to reinvent yourself.
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I can easily think of more than 50 things that were invented and became obsolete just in my lifetime. For example, the pager (or beeper), the VCR, and the boombox come to mind. They became obsolete but the people who used them didn’t go without messages, movies, and music. Instead, they adapted to new (and better) technologies that provided the same service. The pager was replaced by the text function on your phone while the VCR and boombox were replaced by digital movies and music. The technology you know and love constantly reinvents itself.
The Data Doesn’t Lie
A 2015 Huffington Post article shared the results of global research conducted by SAP on this very subject. The article stated, “… the number one issue we face as employees is obsolescence of our own skills.” Statistics in this study showed that 40% of employees were worried about their skills and/or jobs becoming obsolete while a contrasting 18% worried about layoffs and 9% were concerned with getting training and educational opportunities. The numbers don’t lie; people in all types of careers have very similar concerns and rightly so. But you don’t have to fall victim to your job or skills becoming obsolete. Whether you want to stay on top of your current industry or look into a whole new career, there are several ways to stay informed of current changes and adaptations. You’ll just have to reinvent yourself. Here’s how.
1. Utilize Social Media
Even if you feel safe in your current position, it’s always a good idea to stay current on trends in your field. Or, if you’re considering changing careers, look into the current trends that impact the new career. Follow influencers on social media—Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn, for example. Connect to these influencers and establish an active relationship with them. They could be the key to your next job or offer you tips on how to reinvent yourself when the time comes.
2. Become a Reader
Read as much as you can absorb. Your best resources, other than social media, include The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and HR Magazine. Any trade publications associated with your career are excellent options too. They’ll help you find a new, more modern version of your job.
3. Take Courses and Attend Conferences
If you want to reinvent yourself, you have to be open to learning new things. In order to get access to those new things, you need to take courses and attend conferences. It’s great when you can do this on the company dime, but if not, a good course or conference is absolutely worth the money! You’ll explore new technology, and keep up-to-date on new standards and trends. That kind of knowledge can get you a promotion at your current job or make your more marketable when looking for a new job. When you make yourself the expert everyone goes to, you’re creating your own job security!
4. Don’t Let Your Age Hinder You
You don’t have to be young to embark on a new career. To quote a recent article on AARP.org, “[We] are among the first generation of Americans who routinely change careers after 50.” Older, more seasoned people in the workforce have qualities and experience that can’t be found in someone fresh out of college. This is encouraging insight for people who need to reinvent themselves after they’ve hit middle-age.
Embrace This New Chapter
Whatever you do, there’s no reason to be fearful. You’re taking steps to be current, relevant, and marketable not matter where your career path takes you. You are learning, growing, and evolving too and this can be a fun experience if you’re passionate about reinventing yourself. If technology isn’t your thing, consider some careers that haven’t changed much over time like dog walking, art making, sailing, and cooking. Remember, you get to choose the path you want to take.
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