Gen X and the struggle to be relevant
The workplace of yesterday, which most Gen Xers are comfortable and familiar with, is changing
One of the things that I love about my work is that I am sometimes invited to explore worlds totally different from my own. About a month or so ago, I attended the Skills Revolution HR Summit of the IT and Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP).
Okay, some of you might be thinking, what is a writer who mostly tackles lifestyle and parenting issues doing in an IT-BPM affair?! Well, as it happens, I love a challenge. When I was asked to work on the association’s newsletter a few years back, I didn’t hesitate and I ended up being knowledgeable about the industry and its personalities in a few months or so.
This time around, I was helping out in their social media platform, which meant two days of immersing myself in the world of the super consumer, the millennial workplace and everybody’s favorite word, disruption.
The workplace of yesterday, which most Gen Xers are comfortable and familiar with, is changing. As millennials take over the office – if I’m not mistaken they now make up 50 percent of the working population — Gen Xers and Boomers have had to adapt to the shifting winds.
Once upon a time, the dream was to land a corner office with a bad-ass view of the city below. Today, the dream is to not go to the office, but to work anytime, anywhere. Once upon a time, the goal was to find a company, climb up the ladder and retire with the corresponding benefits of a loyal employee. Today, millennials jump from job to job, seeking companies that give value to their work or better yet, make a go at their own startup and hopefully cash in when they reach IPO status.
Once upon a time, artificial intelligence was the stuff of fiction and Arnold Schwarzenegger movies. Today, artificial intelligence is in your mobile and threatening to make your tired old ass redundant.
What’s a fiftysomething granny like me to do then? Panic? Stay under the covers? Oy maybe just wait for 12 more years for the planet to gobble up mankind! Mwahahaha.
Today, millennials jump from job to job, seeking companies that give value to their work or better yet, make a go at their own startup, and hopefully cash in when they reach IPO status.
Of the many sound bites I heard during the conference, the one that totally resonated with me was that of Brad Boyson’s, executive director at the Society for Human Resource Management.
“Always be permanent beta.”
That’s what he said and it struck me like a bolt of lightning.
It’s natural to opt for the comfortable and the familiar, but Bradson says such a mindset will not take you anywhere. You always have to be making yourself better — stretching your limits, learning new things, and dare I say it, embracing disruption.
It sounds a wee bit daunting, for sure, especially when, on some days, I find myself sweating so profusely that I’d swear there was a heat wave going on. But still, one must give it the old college try. As I pray to the gods that they don’t come up with AI that churns out soliloquies about growing old, I take comfort in the thought that Pablo Picasso completed Guernica at 55 and J.R.R. Tolkien published Lord of the Rings at 62.
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