According to ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus, change is the only constant in life. That might not be much comfort to you if you’re facing upheaval at work, at home, or both! But you can’t stop the tide from coming in just because you don’t want it to happen.
Trends that affect both work and personal life can range from small to huge. Your odds of finding a comfortable rut or safe harbor that helps you avoid coping with major change are poor at best.
Pew Research recently highlighted a new book, The Next America, that deals with two immense changes taking place in this country. To quote briefly: “America is in the throes of two simultaneous demographic overhauls. We’re enroute to becoming a majority non-white country at the same time a record share of us are going gray. As a result, generation gaps have opened up in our political and social values, our economic well-being, our family structures, our racial and ethnic identities, our gender norms, our religious affiliations, and our technology use.”
You can add to that list “workplace issues.” To name just a few: different management and work styles, different values and priorities, generational or other gaps that make communication more challenging, and more.
Much in the same way as demographic changes are taking place with or without your consent, workplace and work-life changes seem inevitable. You will undoubtedly need to be able to evolve in response to trending changes or risk getting steamrollered by them.
Assuming you can’t control the direction or speed at which big changes occur, or their scope, maybe all you can really expect to do is to take them into account as much as possible in planning your career path and your moves along that path. There might never again be (if there ever really was) a relatively predictable career path.
A standard job interview question used to be, “Where do you see yourself in five years?” Or words to that effect. For relevance in today’s work world, that long a stretch of time might seem challenging to anticipate. With the big changes now trending in society–and their almost certain effect on your work situation–five years could be an impossibly long time to plan for.
The added degree of uncertainty that these big changes bring to the mix will most likely increase the challenges you face in overall career management and even in a specific job search. And that’s besides the adjustments you will face on the job, after you’ve conducted a successful job search. Each job you hold in the coming years might require you to make ongoing adjustments in how you work, how you team up with co-workers and managers, and more.
This is one case where “going it alone” might be a very bad idea. For you on your own to keep up with big changes–most of which are outside your control–could be described as a hopeless task. If you don’t already have a strong network and, ideally, a strong support team to help when you need it, I urge you to develop those resources now!