Being Relevant is Far More Crucial than Having Experience
I want you to think about that.
I recently read the book, Coming Back: How to Win the Job You Want When You’ve Lost the Job You Need by Fawn Germer. The chapter Death of Experience really grabbed me as it was oh so true.
Fawn tells the story of Renee, a successful salesperson, who was suddenly passed over for a promotion. The promotion she had expected was to replace her boss when her boss left. Instead, her boss was displaced by a younger man. She wanted to know why she was not the one picked and asked for a meeting that was repetitively canceled or delayed.
When she finally met with her new boss Fawn wrote in the chapter:
He hemmed, he hawed, and then blurted: “You have so much old trash in your head. We wanted someone without that in their heads so we could look at different routes for the business to grow.”
So much has changed in the last year and being relevant is far more crucial than 20 or 30 years of experience.
Has the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic made your experience irrelevant?
The Pandemic Has Accelerated Change
Many of us have been talking and writing for a while that technology, artificial intelligence, automation, and robotics would eliminate jobs. The pandemic has accelerated that trend.
In a recent Internation Monetary Fund (IMF) blog post, The Jobs of Tomorrow, the article highlighted 5 trends:
- The workforce is automating faster than expected, displacing 85 million jobs in the next five years
- The robot revolution will create 97 million new jobs
- In 2025, analytical thinking, creativity, and flexibility will be among the most sought-after skills
- The most competitive businesses will focus on upgrading their workers’ skills
- Remote work is here to stay
The skills needed for the future are likely to be new and your experience is not relevant. What I found most interesting was item #4 – The most competitive businesses will focus on upgrading their workers’ skills. For those of us in the 2nd half of life, our employers are not going to fund upgrading our skills. You will have to do this on your nickel.
Are your retirement plans to work until whenever? If that is true you had better get moving on reskilling.
My Loyalty to the Company Should be Worth Something
I had the unique experience of working for IBM during the near bankruptcy in 1993. My experience was unique because I ruptured a couple of discs in my back during the holiday season of 1992 and went on disability for 3 months. I did not return to work until late March when many of my older colleagues were in the process of accepting retirement and buyout packages. They were incredibly bitter. I heard over and over:
They can’t do this to me as I have given them 30 years of my life. IBM owes me!
Many of my colleagues’ skills were stale. They expected that their years of service would be rewarded in this crisis. The reward they received was not what they expected. They were given a fat buyout package but that disrupted their plans to continue to work until whenever.
I was in my mid-30s and about 15 years into my career. That was a big wake-up call for me. I learned being relevant was the key to my future.
Fawn Germer wrote in the chapter, Death of Experience the following:
Many leaders no longer view thirty years of experience as a plus. It’s seen as thirty years of “repetitive experience” that has become too expensive because of annual salary increases that culminated in an employee that delivers less value than someone with little experience but more technological acuity.
Your loyalty to the company and years of experience will not save you as it did when IBM nearly went bankrupt.
What Can You Do to Stay Relevant?
Have you been reskilling or update your skills during the pandemic?
I have heard from many who are sitting on the sidelines and waiting for this to come to an end. I have heard from a few (and very few) who are busy taking courses online, attending webinars, and upping their game. These are primarily people who have decided to take the self-employment route. They are learning from this experience and either retooling for something totally new or upping their game in their current profession.
My next post will be discussing the areas where there will be the greatest opportunities and how to obtain those skills. It has never been easier to gain new skills or refresh your skills but …. it takes initiative on your part.
I know this is hard, I am constantly learning new things to be able to run the Career Pivot Membership community. I am currently taking an online course about ConvertKit, my new email service provider. I am also taking an SEO Writing Masterclass from Surfer SEO.
Do you struggle to take the time to learn new skills? I do! Being relevant is key to the future of my business and I know I have to do this.
Are you working on being relevant?
If you want to read more about the disruption that is occurring check out the following posts:
- Are You Willing to Embrace the Disruption with Excitement and Enthusiasm?
- How to Maneuver Your Career in a Crazy Time of Disruptive Innovation
- How Have You Been Successful in Dealing with Industry Disruption?
- Are You Prepared for the Extinction of a Steady Paycheck?
- Why and How to Establish a Growth Mindset for Thriving in 2021?