This year marks an interesting anniversary, the Beloit College mindset list, “which this year is as old as the entering students themselves” according to their website.
What makes this list most interesting to me is that it offers a chance to reflect on what it means to be someone born in 1997. Some interesting entries include, since the year these students were born:
- there have always been hybrid cars
- they have never licked a postage stamp
- the idea of someone being the first woman to hold a position only impresses people old enough to be their parents or grandparents
- CNN has always been available en Español
This year's list also includes a personal translator to translate Millennial jargon so the website provides an opportunity to understand a bit more of what it means to grow up as a Millennial. In the working environment for these Millennials, security and longevity no longer exist. However, there are always opportunities to work at exciting and meaningful jobs and in professions that perhaps don't even exist yet. These students have the benefit of time and we hope, optimism about the future.
I read an article recently about 34 white collar Japanese workers at an insurance firm who will be laid off and replaced by artificial intelligence. This event is startling and certainly disruptive to the lives of the 34 people affected, their families, friends, and co-workers.
For those of us who have read this news, we are unsettled. No one wants to see anyone lose their job, and no one wants to be replaced by anything, let alone an object like a robot or software. Yet, this dilemma is nothing new. It is a more modern version of an old situation, people replaced by technology. This news is uncomfortable for many of us because we wonder, 'when is it my turn to be replaced?'
So what 'jobs' should we prepare for? The answer is there is no answer. However, we should adopt a mindset of continuous learning, intellectual curiosity, continuous improvement of ourselves and the world around us. No matter how old we are, our best days are always ahead of us. We have the choice to make it so. We also have the means and even the resources available to most of us to prepare ourselves through education, both formal and especially informal.
I once belonged to a gym that had a number of elderly members. I got a great piece of advice from one of them when he said, 'show up, do something.' So that is our job: 'show up, do something' with our lives. Show up, learn something. There is but one job and that job is continuous education, continuous learning, continuous improvement. That's an exciting job, one that is always different, new, and always in demand.