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
The world changes, and when the world changes, the need for specific skills, experiences and knowledge, changes.
As a result, jobs will always, at some point or another significantly change or become obsolete including perceived stable jobs such as doctors (and technologists) and lawyers (and paralegals).
The key is that no matter what job; be it level, type, seniority, one must always be aware of what is going on in the world around them and more specifically, in their field of knowledge or industry. In the process, one needs to think about the changes that might happen and think about how that would impact their job accordingly.
This is similar to the business’ future scenario exercise. Businesses monitor external risks and changes and ask themselves every 3 to 5 years, “what are the different key scenarios that might happen and what would each scenario mean to my business“?
So, what are the future scenarios in your field and what does that mean to your career?
As an example, if I was a journalist in the 90s, I could have easily seen the going of the digital wave. For my long term career prospects, I would probably ask myself, “how will my job change with the digital wave?” and probably taken steps, ahead of any key changes, to learn more about digital media and how my skills could be used in that front. I may have started my own blog or volunteered at my newspaper agency to start a blog under their name and I would have definitely worked hard creating / refining my online profile and image. Those who resisted the change, and depended on Government or other policy making bodies to save their jobs when the digital wave really hit the newspaper industry, would have secured only 2 to 3 years, but not more than that. Change always comes.
Similarly, a stay-at-home mom, who held a degree in one field and wants to return to work, may find herself out of touch with the reality of existing job needs. As a result, no matter when a stay-at-home mom plans to return to work, she should always keep abreast of her field, learning new skills and finding manageable ways to develop her experiences, so that when she is ready to return, she is all set.
Is it guaranteed that you keep your job? No – but it will definitely make you more marketable and a candidate with skills that others have yet to learn, i.e. you become a first mover.
Image courtesy of zirconicuss / FreeDigitalPhotos.net