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In The Digital 2020s, Jobs Are More Than Just Jobs – Forbes

People can no longer be forced into boxes
There’s been a great rethinking of the meaning of jobs and work, and a lot of people don’t want to do the daily drudge anymore. Witness the Great Resignation — now with more than four million people leaving their jobs every month — or the “antiwork” movement that seeks to encourage people to completely drop out of the workforce.
How should organizations respond to such developments? They need to foster inclusive and inspiring work cultures, along with forward-looking leadership that encourages innovation and autonomy. Along with that, it’s time to rethink the concept of the “job” itself and what work really means in the digital era.
The late Richard Nelson Bolles, longtime author of the career-building classic What Color is Your Parachute, says the most successful job hunts aren’t really hunts for jobs at all. Rather, they involve research to find what a company needs, and proposing the creation of a role for oneself to fill those gaps. While the first edition of “Parachute” was published in 1972, and continually updated, does it still stand up in the 2020s digital economy? Yes, even more than before.
If anything, formal job descriptions — the bane of Bolle’s teachings — have become a tired old relic of a bygone era, writes Tyrone Smith, Jr. of Udemy. In a recent Harvard Business Review article, he urges that jobs, and descriptions thereof, should be amenable and adaptable to people and their pursuits, revolving around “skills, not tasks.”
Job descriptions are straightjackets that discourage growth and innovation. “Once hired, it’s equally vital to let employees branch out and collaborate with folks outside their day-to-day while still focusing their work on important tasks,” Smith says. ”People, empowered by technology and digital transformation, should be “encouraged to learn and grow outside of their normal daily work routine, and enthusiastic about the prospects of developing their careers without the pressures of stringent job descriptions, responsibilities, or titles,” Smith states.
With a focus on talent, people won’t be “locked into a specific role or saddled with inflexible job titles,” Smith continues. The emphasis needs to be on “development and growth, rather than portraying job responsibilities as constrained within a particular ‘lane.’”
Look how quickly job descriptions are changing. Think about at the changes in career paths we’ve already seen over the past couple of decades or so — could you have imagined at one time seeing demand for job roles such as “cloud architect” or “social media manager”? Or “data scientist” for that matter?
Technology is outpacing traditional learning and education, agrees Avani Desai, CEO of Schellman & Company. “To be successful in the 20s, you must make sure you do not become obsolete and embrace learning and then pivot to become a change agent. Don’t ever become stagnant, even if you remain in the same industry, company, or job. It’s easy to become complacent, but because everything changes so quickly, you must be capable of reinventing yourself every 10 years so you don’t become obsolete. Being proactive about your situation and constantly challenging yourself helps.” 
Regardless of how advanced technology becomes — “from blockchain to artificial intelligence, or machine learning, humans possess unique traits of creativity, emotion, and inspiration that are boundless, and don’t require rules or structure—that’s why we can write persuasive arguments, diagnose a new disease, provide personal and empathetic customer service, or dream up an invention,” Desai adds. “After all, we were the ones who dreamed up and created computers in the first place, and we’ve always been this way—constantly looking to improve our quality of life, racing each other to find the best new solutions. Machines can be programmed to replicate many tasks, but they don’t possess, and I don’t believe they will ever possess, those innate abilities that we have.”
In the process, new types of jobs are evolving that defy current descriptions. For example, the Cognizant Jobs of the Future project has been tracking potential career paths, and cites examples of jobs that are evolving around talent being pursued in today’s digital organizations. To see where imagination can take things, look at the creative types of job roles that will be part of organizations over the coming years. Remember, these are all part of fast-changing scenarios, and can all be re-oriented and redesigned to meet the particular skills of individuals becoming involved with organizations:
Master of edge computing: “Define the IoT roadmap, carefully evaluate the technical requirements and assess the feasibility for establishing the edge processing unit and measure the return on investments. Insights into systems modeling and knowledge of distributed architectures are required along with significant experience working on IoT hardware and software platforms.”
Cyber calamity forecaster: “Monitor, detect and forecast cyber threats, and predict their impact. The forecaster will distinguish between highly improbable and wildly impossible cyber outliers, and accurately map and make predictions to prepare for cyber uncertainties.”
Mechatronics engineer: “Combines skillsets common to mechanical engineering, electronics, computer engineering, telecommunications engineering, systems engineering and control engineering. Designs, tests, studies and inspects complex machines including cars, drones, industrial machinery and even automated submersibles.”
AR journey builder: “Will collaborate with talented engineering leads and technical artists to create the essential elements for customers to move through an augmented reality experience of place, space and time. Proficiency with creative language/lingo of AR hackathons, game jams, skins, surfaces, planes, escape rooms, SDKs, simultaneous localization and mapping and head-mounted displays.”
UI/UX designer: This is already a well-established position in many companies, with professionals taking on increasingly visible roles as companies shift to more digitized product lines. These designers “assist with technology design to make products easier for people to use. Research the behavior of internet users and consumers, compile information about the target audience for a site, and develop website layout, design and technology features that improve accessibility and value for users.”


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