Why you don’t need a life plan yet
You’re probably sick to death of being asked what you want to be when you grow up.
Everyone from your grandma to your teacher seems to want to know. If you get a sense of impending doom every time the question is tossed your way, don’t worry, you aren’t alone. In fact, here at StudyTime, we think that not knowing what to do with your life is actually a darned good thing. Some of us haven’t even got it figured out, and high school was a while ago now.
How can you be expected to have a firm plan when the world is changing so quickly around you?
The pace of the world is a lot faster now than it was when your parents and teachers were growing up.
While older people might stick to the philosophy you’ll pick a career and stay with it for life, the reality is, the job you’ll eventually do might not actually exist yet.
Some of today’s most in-demand specialty jobs didn’t exist ten or even five years ago.
Many of these jobs were created due to the spread of the internet and the ways this impacted our lives. For example, all of us here at StudyTime wouldn’t be writing articles, filming videos or making memes for ya’ll if the internet didn’t exist.
Best believe that if I could visit myself in high school ten years ago and tell myself to start studying up for my career as a meme-maker, I’d have been confused. “Memes?”, I’d say, “What the heck is that?”
The point I’m trying to get at here is that it’s possible that you’re heading for a job you don’t know about, that might not even exist yet.
The world is going to continue to change at a very rapid pace, due to the political, technological and environmental climate. How can you be expected to have a clear path to the future laid out, when the ground keeps shifting beneath your feet?
Some fields that have traditionally been considered a ‘safe bet’ for job safety will be overhauled by automation i.e. some aspects of them will be overtaken by robots. Jobs at risk of extinction due to automation, according to The Guardian, include loan officers, legal assistants, taxi drivers and fast-food cooks.
In most supermarkets, many cashiers have already been replaced with self-service checkouts. So we’ve got to ask ourselves, what plan should we develop that’ll protect us from the rise of the robots?
Well, I’m glad I asked. In actual fact, the best thing we can do in the face of such uncertainty is not to have a single plan.
When grandma asks you what your life plan, you can reply you’re keeping your options open.
The things that technology and computers struggle to automate is creativity, flexibility and original thinking.
If you can develop these skills, you’ll always be hireable, because you’ll always be capable of adding things to the work equation that a computer cannot. It’s these skills that will matter in overcoming the problems of our time e.g. climate change.
The best way to develop these skills? Follow your interests, the things that you can focus on for hours without the instructions of a teacher. Think deeply and engage your interests, and find ways that they can take you in new directions.
Like writing? Try developing a blog. Like science? Try running some experiments and entering a science fair. Exploring your interests might change them and take you in new directions, but by engaging with them you will develop important skills that employers look for.
Even when you go to university, you might not be sure if the degree you are doing will take you where you want.
Surely once you get to university you need to know your life plan, right? Nope. 40% of NZ bachelors students change qualifications before they complete them, including 23% to another degree.
The fast-paced, instant-gratification vibe of the world we’re living in can make us feel like a degree is something we need to spit out ASAP. Actually, half the value of the degree is in the journey it takes to get it. Spoiler alert: changing your mind about your path in life (and your degree) is often personal growth that comes naturally with experience.
Even after university, degrees can lead you in many directions. Just because you have a degree in, for example, Law doesn’t mean you need to be spending your days in court.
It doesn’t even mean you have to be a Lawyer! Law is also often important in government jobs, education, business and journalism. Every degree has multiple possible applications.
Nobody, even a graduate, has one path to success or knows what events might change their best-laid plans.
So long as you follow your interests and the opportunities that come your way, you’ll develop the essential skills that the changing work-world requires: critical thinking, creativity, flexibility, original thinking and adaptability. Even if you change career path five times, which is not uncommon in a lifetime, these skills will always come with you. You’ll discover the path you’re carrying them down as you go.