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How Can We Prepare For Jobs That Don’t Even Exist Yet?

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A few weeks ago, I coached my ex-staff member on career management. He started his career in accounts payable (AP) about 15 years ago and has gradually grown within the industry. He enjoyed the work and having spent so much time on developing a career in the said area, everything was so easy for him – especially solving issues. Creativity at its best? Not really! Because here’s something he did not expect – Replacement! He was replaced by the most unexpected contender – technology.

A month ago, the company decided to automate the entire AP process. With the new systems, tools, and procedures, there were reduced human touch points, resulting in layoffs. He was asked to leave. A new job was the order of the day and creativity at its best was the demand for further action. Frantically, he started applying everywhere, and to make the situation worse for him, other companies were ahead in automation and were not looking for the profile he was holding.

During our conversation, he introspected multiple times and realized, he himself was responsible for this situation. Here’s how:

  1. Firstly, he was not business savvy, he did not pay much attention to what is happening in the industry.
  2. Secondly, he did not network much. He was confined to a small group of people and was left out on some critical information about automation within the company. Had he invested time in networking, he would have known about all the proposals flying around in automation.
  3. Finally, he did not spend enough on training and development and he was  left with some technical skills which have now become obsolete. At the same time, he did not invest in transferable soft skills like creativity, innovation, communication, influencing, persuasion, stakeholder management, and project management.

Are You Also Not Doing Any Of The Above?

Does all of this sound familiar? You may think you are immune to such problems, but the reality is very different. It is a matter of time- some are being impacted now, and some will be affected in the future. With the future of work well and truly upon us, how can we prepare for jobs that don’t even exist yet?

We are facing unprecedented challenges – be it social, economic, environmental, or technological developments. These changes are providing us with a number of new opportunities. Yet, there is one crucial thing we need to remember – the future is always uncertain, and no one can predict it. This truth may be our friend or our foe, depending on how we approach it and whether we approach it in due time or not.

While meeting the challenges of the future, we need to be open and ready for it. To navigate through these uncertainties, one will need to:

  • Develop curiosity, imagination, resilience, and self-regulation;
  • Learn to respect, appreciate new ideas, perspectives, values of others;
  • Cope with failure and rejection, and move forward in the face of adversity.
  • One will also need to care about the well-being of their friends and families, their communities, and the planet.
  • And we need to take all these skills and squeeze them into a unique representation of who we are and what we do best – that’s creativity at its best.

Be Prepared

Adopt Behaviors that can prepare you for the future work and ensure that your skills remain relevant and in demand. These behaviours will help us with future jobs. Firstly, focus on soft skills, innovation, communication, influencing, and stakeholder management.

While technical expertise will continue to evolve, specific soft skills will remain for most jobs in the future because the human abilities can’t be imitated by technology, like the ability to connect with people and form relationships, willingness to learn, and respect for the ideas of others.

What Skills Will Be Required In The Future And How To  Acquire Them?

There are a few essential skills and here are a few that I have placed on top of my list:

Innovation/Creativity: When we were children, the creative juices were squeezed from our brains slowly and as we got older, the left brain started to dominate with logic until we lost our power of creativity. To get back the right brain thinking, we need to become like children, where we simply get curious, accept information without, and listen to everyone’s point of view.

We have billions of nerve cells in the brain, neurons keep connecting with each other, typically known connections will happen fast and happens because of our memory, past experiences. Whenever information is transferred to mind, it forms a particular pattern. If you ever felt stuck unable to solve a problem, not able to think of a solution or come up with an innovative idea, this is mainly due to the brain’s inability to form new patterns.

Keep Those Brilliant Ideas Coming

For the brain to develop a new design or to find creativity, one needs to be in a calm state (not to activate the reptilian side of your mind which is inclined to a fight or flight mode). You would also have to expose to a new environment, experience, knowledge or skills. I am sure you always have a brilliant idea during a shower or while driving, this is because the mind is at a calm state and some new experiences, places, must have been exposed to brain shortly before it can go to few days prior as well. Once you make a habit of exposing yourself to something new often,  you can practice this exercise to get some innovation or creativity to your problem-solving process and outcome.

Question Often, Get More Done

One of the simple exercises anyone can do is ro ask more questions. When we shift our focus to ask as many questions as possible, then we are able to see the problem differently. For example, low sales for the month. Here’s how you can create a question chart to fuel creativity:

  1. Why are the sales low this month?
  2. Are customers aware of our product?
  3. Is there any new alternative to our product?
  4. Is this a seasonal low?
  5. Are customers satisfied with our products?
  6. Do we have any logistic issues to deliver the products to our customers?
  7. Has customer preference changed?
  8. Does customers income pattern change?

The list can go on. In fact, the more, the better; it is not necessary to answer all the questions, just by asking questions in as many ways as possible, one will start to connect the dots and see things differently and eventually get insight.

Creativity and innovation are essential because these factors make problem-solving an exciting and fulfilling process. Creativity is a way of living life that embraces originality and makes unique connections between seemingly disparate ideas. Creativity is about living life as a journey into seeing and communicating the extraordinariness of the simplest, most everyday acts.

Enjoy learning new skills and make yourself foolproof against future digital trends.

 

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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