Topic: The Future of the Evolving Worker
“The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn. ” – Alvin Toffler
Humans in general seek out meaningful work. Part of that need is based on sustenance – it is a time-honored tradition to trade our time and skills for compensation by the beneficiaries. And another part of that need seems to be an inner drive to seek out meaningful ways to spend our time – whether compensated or not – to validate one’s self-worth, to contribute to a personal legacy, or other psychological reasons.
The structure of the relationship between the provider of time and skill (employee) and the beneficiary (employer) is undergoing radical change. Much of that change is based on the radical changes in commercial enterprise caused by the influx of technology. Other aspects of change cascade from initial technological impact, to a fundamental restructuring of social relationships in almost every dimension. It seems like we are waiting on one last development to flip the balance. Much like one last grain of sand on a perfect cone can cause the entire structure to collapse and assume a new form.
We have some idea how the nature of jobs – and, more generally, work – is changing. But what must we as individuals – and as a society – change to keep up, and accommodate new rules for finding sustenance, and for finding personal meaning and satisfaction?
This changing picture for people – and all the adjustments and changes they will have embrace for a future success and a future economy – is the topic of our discussion this month.
Some suggested reading resources (any one of these articles serves as fuel for the discussion):
- (Late-breaking resource) When the robots take over, will there be jobs left for us? (David Pogue, CBS Sunday Morning, 4/9/17)
- Transforming the Workplace: Critical Skills and Learning Methods for the Successful 21st Century Worker
- In the U.S., 21st Century Skills Linked to Work Success
- What are 21st century skills? – The Four C’s
- Skills for Success in the 21st Century Workplace
- Shaping the Future of Learning (KnowledgeWorks – 2016)
Building on our discussions of blockchain and the future of jobs in the last two meetings – this focus on people – a key factor in shaping the future – is a primary consideration in projecting an economy for coming generations.