Are you prepared to diversify your career?

“More and more independent thinkers are realizing that when being an employee is the equivalent to putting all your money into one stock – a better strategy is to diversify your portfolio. So you’re seeing a lot more people looking to diversify their career.” What jobs will be around in 20 years?

I like the concept of diversifying careers. It’s the first time I’ve read it like this. I usually refer to this idea as a tactic – collect skills. But the idea of diversifying your career makes it more strategic. To succeed in the future, people need to think beyond one industry, one set of skills, a single professional domain of expertise.

I’ve been stuck on the idea that the word career is terribly outdated. The definition of career is,

an occupation undertaken for a significant period of a person’s life and with opportunities for progress.

Yet we’re seeing more people take on different occupations throughout their life. And with automation and the drastic changes coming for the workforce, there’s less guarantee for long-term opportunities and progress.

We need a new way of talking about careers that gets people thinking about upskilling, continuous learning, adaptation, growth-mindset, creative solutions, etc. The term career is rooted in the idea of stability and the idea that you’ll be rewarded just by showing up and doing your job. And that’s pretty much the opposite of the future of work:

Professor Richard Susskind, author of The Future of the Professions and Tomorrow’s Lawyers, echoes this distinction. “What you’re going to see for a lot of jobs is a churn of different tasks,” he explains. “So a lawyer today doesn’t develop systems that offer advice, but the lawyer of 2025 will. They’ll still be called lawyers but they’ll be doing different things.”

I’m building a school that teaches these concepts but I cringe when I pitch the idea because I have to use the term career, a term rooted in old-school thinking. So to get people thinking about new career expectations, I’m trying out new terms: career portfolios, portable careers, fluid careers, mobile careers. Then again, sometimes I just wrap it in clickbait: robot-proof careers.

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