Wednesday, September 10, 2008

A job for the future

A couple of days ago I came across a list of what are supposed to be must-grab careers of the future. We’re talking Computational Biology, Simulation Engineering, Genetic Counseling and Space Tourism. Sounds more like research areas to me than ideas to inspire a life’s work. Next to each career was a salary range and they didn’t exactly knock my socks off either. I’ve always found that when you look at great careers, you’re looking at people who are after experience ahead of money. In fact, I recall seeing a study showing that most workers would go for praise and appreciation ahead of a modest rise in salary. So what are the hot careers for the future which will win you praise, love, inspiration and the lifestyle of your dreams?

Storyteller. Let’s start simple. The ability to tell stories has been admired since humans first gathered round a campfire. Now, with cultures merging and technology connecting everybody with anybody, storytelling will become even more highly sought after. Not everyone can do it well, but we all have a spark of the storyteller in us and it’s a skill to nurture. Where storyteller merges into mythmaker, that’s where the future lies.

Creative Connector. I’m not sure whether this will be a specific job description or simply something everyone is going to have to be great at doing. Connecting people with people, ideas with ideas, images with images, insight with foresight...you get the picture. And as sustainability comes roaring in, we’ll be stretching connections in all directions in that amazing dance known as the Power of Paradox.

Paradox Player. These are the people who will have to take creative connections to the limit – and then some. They’ll have left Either/Or thinking well behind and emerged as the magicians of And/And. They will know how to move slowly, carefully and take big leaps at the right time; they will grow businesses steadily and remain paranoid; they’ll keep it simple and complex.

Sisomo Magician. Back in the day they were creatives, directors, designers and so on. In the future we’ll cut to the chase and focus on what connects them rather than divides them. Sisomo. Sight, Sound and Motion on screen. Any screen, from tiny wrist screens to giant outdoor displays. Whatever you want these magicians will deliver with attitude, skill and imagination.

Professional Optimist. One of the great business tools is as old as the hills and twice as useful. I’m talking about SWOT. The simple system where you look at the future in terms of Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. I’m always on the opportunity side of the chart using threats and weaknesses as a pivot to new strengths. Optimists have always been rare, but never have we needed them so badly for inspiration, for insight and for a perspective that looks up at the horizon rather than down into the abyss.