Last week the country was ablaze with excitement, curiosity and apprehension as Singularity University hit South African soil. For those unfamiliar with this establishment, Singularity University is somewhat a symbol of the ‘disruptive future’. Business representatives from around the country piled into the Kyalami Race Track in anticipation of some of the answers to solving tomorrow’s problems.
A key message that responds adequately to considering the future and one that pops up every day in one way or the other, is that thirst for knowledge and the ability to ‘learn and unlearn’. Futurists insist that the constant change in our lives requires a different approach to dealing with the unknown but more importantly how we improve our skill sets and abilities to deal with future-fit jobs is a question each one of us should be asking ourselves.
I started venturing down this road when I made a significant move in my corporate career last year – I left my job. It was the lack of control, both personally and professionally that led me to this decision. And as I find myself fitting into one of the fastest growing employment categories, otherwise known as the ‘gig economy’ or the ‘contingent worker’, the need to be in control of one’s own learning and development has never been more fitting.
The most important decisions I made over the last year, was to follow my passion, live a well-balanced, healthy life and start the control of what and how I learn. I needed to do this to fulfil my own obligation to being future-fit and relevant in the world of work. I took my savings, started ‘counting my rice-krispies’ and made a very important decision. I decided to study a course in the Netherlands. And yes, that would require a few visits to Amsterdam, and a course that needed payment in Euros during one of South African’s most difficult economic climates.
My decision to take the leap and throw caution to the wind, has been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. My developmental journey has highlighted so many significant things for me, namely: (1) taking the plunge with the associated risk is not as hard as we think, (2) finding one’s passion and using this to drive us, is so important and (3) you’ll be surprised at yourself, at how much you do know, especially when comparing yourself to your international counterparts.
This must be the best gift I have ever bought myself, one that will deal with my somewhat inefficiencies around future-fit growth and applicability but more importantly it is the networks and ecosystems of connectivity and the entrance into a world of alternate learning resources that has gotten me very, very excited.
It appears there is only message when it comes to future-fit applicability and that is to make sure you are relevant and current. Learning formally or informally is the dosage we need to be consuming every day, be it through articles, books, podcasts, networks, academia, social media and being linked into an assortment of professional ecosystems. The long and the short of it however, is that you cannot afford not to take control of your own individual learning and development responsibility, that has been placed so pertinently on us now. That learning and thirst for curiosity needs to take place every day, the onus of this critical responsibility that was given to organisations in the past is no longer.
The future is here and the sooner we realise the impact of “To Be or Not to Be” in a future-fit job in a future approved organisation – the better!