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Reality’s unforgiving fangs

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By Patrick Achitabwino:

You may consider yourself the best in the company that you work for. Stop having the delusion that you are irreplaceable. Start thinking otherwise. In this technologically advancing world, there is no certainty of what your job will look like after cataclysmic change sweeps through your industry and engulfs the company you work for. Andrew Grove asks: “Who knows if your job will even exist and, frankly, who will care besides you?”

There is a reality that we have to comprehend and come to terms with. Nobody owes you a career. In his book Only the Paranoid Survive, Grove states that your career is literally your business. You own it as a sole proprietor. You have one employee: yourself. You are in competition with millions of similar businesses; millions of other employees all over the world.

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You need to accept ownership of your career, your skills and the timing of your moves. It is your responsibility to protect this business of yours from harm and to position it to benefit from the changes in the environment. Nobody else can do that for you.

It is time to stop being in the comfort zone. Keep working on improving your competencies. Technological changes in the world are moving at neck-breaking speed and the more you lag behind, the more you have to stop thinking of your value in this dynamic world.

Motor vehicles are now coming with manuals of self-help in terms of repairs; driverless cars are set to conquer the world; pilotless airplanes will be ruling the skies; cloud accounting will cause disruption in finance departments in companies. Who knows what will happen in the law industry? Buildings are being digitally built much faster than ever before. Technology is spreading to civil engineering, with roads being digitally designed. In the future, you will need just a printer and computer to design and print your own pair of shoe.

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As technology is deepening its tentacles, it is difficult to think about how education will be imparted in the years to come. Probably there will be no need for brick-and-mortar schools. People are likely to learn at their convenience in their homes. And with the coming in of disruptions of the job market, will bachelors, masters and doctorate degrees matter?

Reality is baring its unforgiving fangs in front of us. The fact that an auto-teller machine could be built has changed bankings. If interconnected inexpensive computers can be used in medical diagnosis and consulting, it may change medical care.

We never know that your mobile phone may become your medical doctor, advising you on your health condition and prescribing the medication you have to buy and even possibly informing you about where the medication is available and at what cost. Look at the entertainment industry. The fact that entertainment content can be created, stored, transmitted and displayed in digital format may change the entire media industry.

Drone technology is disrupting the future. We have to anticipate that supermarkets will only be stocking products but have no need of employees. All content in the super market could be accessed on the phone, payment made electronically, robots selecting the products and putting them on drone that will deliver right within your compound. The future is getting disrupted and you cannot afford to sleep on the wheel.

Andrew Grove has it again when he says: “We live in an age in which the pace of technological change is pulsating ever faster, causing waves that spread outward toward all industries. This increased rate of change will have an impact on you, no matter what you do for a living. It will bring new competition from new ways of doing things, from corners that you don’t expect.”

Until very recently, if you went to work at an established company, you could assume that your job would last the rest of your working life. But when companies no longer have lifelong careers themselves, how can they provide one for their employees?

Now companies are struggling to adapt; the methods of doing business that were impregnable and have been cherished for years are irrelevant in the current situation. Companies that have had generations of employees growing up under no-layoff policy are now dumping 10,000 people at a crack.

Up your game, take keen interest in upcoming technological developments and position yourself to be in touch with them. Failure to would make you irrelevant. Keep shaping and reshaping your career. It is your business.

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