I graduated college in 2010 with a degree in Corporate Communications. Less than a decade later, a majority of the tactics I learned are nearly outdated. I don’t bring this up to knock the higher education system. I’m grateful for what I learned. My point is this, the world is changing faster than ever.
Finding Work That Matters
Think about it. Business Intelligence, marketing automation, and many of the other tools driving today’s businesses didn’t exist a decade ago. Instagram hadn’t been created yet. It’s only been a little more than 11 years since the first iPhone came out, and it’s completely revolutionized the way we engage with the world.
And here’s another truth: The rate at which our world will continue to change isn’t slowing down.
There are already articles out there describing how our kids (those born after 2010) won’t even bother with email, texting, or even having a phone. By 2030, robots could take over as many as 800 million jobs currently managed by humans.
The New Reality of Work
So what do these new realities mean for the way we approach our work? I think the best-selling author and change-agent Seth Godin describes it best when he describes today’s new world as the connection economy.
We can’t just show up, punch the clock, and expect to change the world.Tweet
For the past several years, Seth has challenged people to think differently about their work. We can’t just show up, punch the clock, and expect to change the world. In the connection economy, the value we create is generated by making connections, rather than pumping widgets out of the tail end of an assembly line.
Whether we’re 25 or 65, we must learn how do adapt to the ways in which our world is changing. We must embrace that the way we approach work ten years from now will be drastically different than the way we approach work today. Being flexible to this changing reality will be the only way to create change in our world.
How Can We Adapt to the New Connection Economy?
So how can we adapt to the connection economy and work in a way that creates change? Here are a few important principles Seth has outlined…
● Constantly challenge ourselves to become better. Most of us are wired to embrace the status quo. We look for something that works and stick with it because it’s safer. Seth argues that this mentality will only lead us into a crisis. The only way we will make work that matters in the connection economy is when we strain against the status quo. We must focus on becoming better rather than safer.
● Engage in emotional labor. In today’s world, connections are the most valuable things we have. Intuitively, we know this. We all know the difference in getting a blasted email compared to getting one that is personal. It makes us feel different, and it completely changes the way we respond. The same principle is true about our work. We can’t forget to be human. We must be compassionate, empathetic, and surprising. This is one advantage we have against “the robots” that could eventually take our job. They don’t know what it’s like to connect as a human.
● Focus on meaningful work that matters. How do we know if we’re doing work that matters? The answer is found in one question: “Would people miss us if we were gone?” We can’t make a difference in the connection economy when we’re solely focused on ourselves. We must constantly look to how we can serve and improve the lives of others in order to change the world.
In the same way, the Industrial Revolution changed how people worked in the 19th century, today’s technological advances will revolutionize the way we approach our work in the future… if it hasn’t already. I’m thankful for Seth, and people like him, who always seem to be ahead of the curve and provide insights to help us adapt and thrive.
If we can embrace these ideas, I’m confident we’ll become people who can change the world, regardless of how fast it’s changing.