“Stay true to yourself, yet always be open to learn”- P. Sweet
“So, how do I prepare for jobs of the future?” This is a question that is understandably on the minds of many young people. Researchers, educators, and politicians are trying to guess and prepare for what the future may bring. Their focus is on technological innovations in fields such as artificial intelligence, 3D technology, nanotechnology, and innovation biology. And while they are mostly guessing what type of technological skills could possibly be needed, they are certain about the importance of what they like to call soft skills.
The problem with soft skills is that the definition is not clearly stated. Some define soft skills as people skills such as communication and interpersonal skills. Others believe that they are professional skills such as leadership or mentorship. And others call them transferable skills highlighting the importance of teamwork and adaptability. You may also find them defined as self-management skills, such as developing a growth mindset or building resilience. Regardless of the label, everyone agrees that soft skills are the skills that you need to succeed in any career now and in the future. Whether you are a chef, a mechanical engineer, or a family physician, soft skills will help you navigate your day to day challenges.
In case you are curious, my definition of soft skills incorporates the four stated views. A chef, for example, will need to be able to communicate his recipes to others. He will need leadership skills to lead his partners or employees in the kitchen. She will need to adapt to deal with any problems that may arise in her kitchen. And finally, he or she will need to keep revisiting the recipes in order to stay competitive and successful.
Looking into the future, you know you need to prepare yourself for a career that is unstable. A career that will challenge you to move from one position to the next as new skills are required. A career that you have to manage yourself because no one has experienced it before. Developing and strengthening your soft skills will get you ready.
You may choose to ignore all of the above and go with the flow. I see nothing wrong with this choice as long as you are content to wait and adapt to the new changes as they come along. Another option would be for you to take charge of your future and create your own pathway.
Be your own agent for personal development by committing to lifelong learning and a lifetime of reflecting on your personal value.