DARE TO SAY IT
This mostly summarizes a dinner conversation I had with my father. Born in the 50s, now in his 60s, he represents a person who has over 40 years of experience of working, albeit from a fairly narrow field.
His career path, if viewed from the “old norms” of the 70s-80s would be seen as a dream: starting in a large company in a minor position, over 25 years of service and progressing to a senior position in the same company. His views of his path: “a safe choice, with not too much need to self-direct ones work. More an executor of tasks that are given from higher up in the command chain”.
Personally, I love project work and I am strongly driven by curiosity and interest, which have spearheaded me to nearly everything I do. Presently, my life revolves around a few different kinds of projects, some very social, but others more alone. I love a dynamic and fragmented worklife.
The contrast between these two opposing paths spurred our conversation onwards into the fact that technological layers will be replacing human layers at many workplaces, so the workers need to be able to quickly update their skill set to get back into the game. This is where the essentiality of being able to learn effectively comes in.
For people who are inherently curious and interest-driven, this might not be a big problem. They have their fuel for learning, and “being a learner” is even a part of their identity. They will learn weather you ask it from them or not. There is no separation between “working” and “learning” for this group. If you would ask them: “what do you do at work?” they would answer: “I learn, I apply and I evaluate.“
technological layers will be replacing human layers at many workplaces, so the workers need to be able to quickly update their skill set to get back into the game. This is where the essentiality of being able to learn effectively comes in.
Then there is the group who view “work” as “work”. Work is something that should be done to get food on the table and that has nothing to do with ones interests. Sometimes it can be that their true interest and passion is totally elsewhere and that is fine if it is a conscious choice. In this new age of never-before-seen fast upskilling I am most worried about the group who has no work-related interests whatsoever. They view work as a heavy burden and their self-efficacy believed plummet if they get replaced by tech or other workers.
The ability to cultivate interest and use it to focus on learning something new, makes learning so much more enjoyable. If you can give meaning to what you are learning and the knowledge in focus is relevantly aligned with your representation of future-you, then you are in a lucky position. How many employers are aware of their workers interests or future dreams?
We need to change the representation that the word “work” has in our minds. My hope is that we will all work towards a world of interest-driven working and learning. Working is learning and learning is working. A shift on all levels is necessary: from individuals to groups, public to private sectors and all levels of society.
Looking forward to working on this with you at Dare To Learn in September!