We are living at a remarkable time in human history. Over the last 30 years, hundreds of millions of people have joined the global economy and the world is facing breathtaking technological and social change. At the same time, humanity faces many challenges and problems of which the Covid-19 pandemic and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine are only the latest examples.
In this environment, many people are facing more uncertainty than ever about what to do with their professional life. They wonder where to live and work and how to assure that they will be able to survive and prosper in the years ahead. You might be one of them.
Each of us has three possible choices to make when faced with an uncertain and changing world.
The first choice is to do nothing. This is perhaps the easiest course although it might take some effort to ignore the changes around you. In making this choice you assume that things will stay the same or at least will do so long enough to “make it through”.
If, after thinking carefully about it, you are confident that your professional life will not be turned upside down in the next 10-20 years and choose to continue with what you have been doing then I would say that you are making a reasonable choice. If, on the other hand, you choose not to really think about it or enter into denial about what is going on around you, then I find inaction to be somewhat irresponsible especially if you have a family to take care of or other responsibilities.
A second option is to wait and see what happens and then be ready to react to change when it comes. The idea here is not to panic and jump into the future before being very sure what change will be real and what might be illusory. You might, for example, start learning the basics of coding or study Mandarin just to be ready for a more digital and/or Chinese-centric world.
A third choice is to develop a view and act on it right away. As Mahatma Gandhi said in a different context, “be the change you want to see in the world”. This can be both rewarding and exciting but depends on either being right about the future or being so passionate about something that it almost does not matter.
Learning to Fly has been created to help you in charting a professional path through the changing world we live in. The site has some of the key ideas that are explored more deeply in the book Learning to Fly which was published by Anthem Press in September 2022. It also has a Stories section where you can read choices other people have made about their own professional lives as well as a Forums section to encourage people to talk about what they may want to do and where they may want to live.
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