“Good morning, class. Take out your screens and let’s get to work.”
It’s likely that our children will look back on this era as the smart revolution. Screen-based smart devices are now mainstream. Fridges and washing machines talk to each other. And thanks to the “Pokemon Go” craze, a walk in the park with your kids now includes a smartphone, battery pack and a determined hunt for virtual monsters in an augmented reality game.
Yet, the smart revolution has only started. As a dad of three kids under the age of five, it’s hard to imagine what the world will look like for them once they enter the workforce. But thanks to futurists and experts, I think we can hazard a few guesses.
Old Jobs Fall, New Jobs Rise
“Daddy, when I grow up I want to be … a social media analyst?”
The days of working at one or two trades your whole life is pretty much over. According to research by McKinsey & Company, 45 percent of U.S. jobs could be automated by technology. With tech advances rendering jobs obsolete more quickly than ever before, it’s likely our kids will enter the workforce with previously unknown job titles. Career changes and shifts may be a frequent occurrence as the smart revolution progresses. For example: Driverless car technology may put taxi drivers out of business. However, this change might create a need for artificial intelligence and traffic automation experts, If you want to create your own business but don’t know how to name it I suggest checking out a brandable domain name online.
Brain-to-brain communication (don’t laugh, it’s not that far away) may eventually make marketing, communications and advocacy roles redundant. But it also might mean more support, training and consulting jobs are required to expand and improve this kind of technology.
The best training for your kids may be to learn how to adapt in a fast-changing workplace. Simon Bennett, the chief executive of recruitment firm AWF Madison, suggests: “[Your kids] need to be more flexible and resilient because there will be times when you’re out of work. You have to get used to working in different environments, different people around you. Getting comfortable in a team of 10 people that don’t turn over is no longer the way.”
Always on, Always Worried, Never Satisfied
You’ve seen the warning signs before in your kids (or someone else’s). Their eyes are glued to the screen as they’re scrolling through updates, liking pics and tapping on notifications like they’re sugar hits. With “fear of missing out” (FOMO in social media parlance) endemic today, it seems like it will only get worse once our kids enter the workforce.
One danger of FOMO could be seen in our children’s spending and saving habits. A study by Citizen Relations found that 68 percent of millennials admit to buying something reactively because of a fear of missing out. In the future, our kids might find it even harder to resist the temptation to splurge instead of saving, which could lead to less work satisfaction, less long-term planning and no end in sight to the fear of missing out.
One way to combat FOMO in the future might be to teach and show your kids contentment in their lives today. Share inspirational stories of people who live more by having less. Take a tech sabbatical when you spend time off of your gadgets, emails, social media and internet-connected devices. Show them that there’s more to life than likes and shares.
The hardest part of changing your children’s lives could be the fact that it starts with changing your own. Our kids are smart and understand what we love and what we’re fixated on. Maybe the smart revolution will look different for our kids once it looks different to us.
About the author: William Chong has been writing for a living since 2008. When he’s not writing, he’s usually thinking about the next fun word to teach his daughters. Based in Auckland, New Zealand – city of beaches, volcanos, and orcs.