The Perpetual Apprentice

Once upon a time, what now seems like many years ago, we could learn a skill and it would see us through our lives.

That is no longer true. Our careers now have far more in common with a video game than a plan. Sudden changes, unexpected obstacles, strange doors to knock on to find the key. The necessity for multiple lives.

The decade we are now in will see further major changes. Technology will dramatically alter chunks of the professions and management, as the routines we have historically been paid to manage get automated and no longer need us. Instead, we will be required to understand the system and to spot emerging issues at every level, from the human to the technical, and the perpetual growth engine that relied on the free resources we took from the Earth and which fed our great grandparents, grandparents and parents runs out of steam. We have to find new sources of value.

New opportunities will open up for us. The doommongers will be wrong. They always have been on anything other than the very short term. All shall be well.

That doesn’t mean we can just sit here and wait for it. We have our part to play. What we have learned up to now is not enough to serve us effectively in whatever is next. Not only will we have to learn how to “do” in this emerging world, we will also have to remember how to “be”. Life is being taken off automatic and put back to manual.

The learning how to “do’ is the easier part. There are increasing numbers of online platforms that enable us to learn new skills quickly and inexpensively. We just have to turn up with intent and determination.

Remembering how to “be” is the bigger challenge. To move from being variously dependent on others, or independent of others to becoming interdependent in the company of others. Trusting in our own abilities, and also trusting in others. It’s a very personal game. Those on whom we depend are always individuals – they may be part of organisatons, but our relationship is with individuals. It’s a big change.

It will not happen quickly, although probably faster then we expect.

To thrive, we need to understand and accept that Mastery in one domain is no longer enough. We always need to be apprentices in something new. And we need to start now.

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