The working population is likely to be drawn towards managing the change in the selected career path, in the very near future. An earlier article – Career sustenance versus disruption methodology was my first attempt in this direction which prompted a reader friend to ask me to write further on the changing scenario. A series of books by Alvin Toffler, namely the “Third Wave”, “Future Shock” and “Power Shift” are amazing pieces of work that brought out the future trends in careers forced by technological innovations.
Information technology era: The first wave or the agricultural economy was followed by the second wave or the industrial revolution. The “Third Wave” points to the post-industrial era that came subsequently and is in existence to this day. The “Future Shock” and “Power Shift” are about the changes that are brought about by the Information technology age. The “Future shock” refers to what happens to the people when they are no longer able to cope with the pace of change. All sorts of symptoms and maladies come to the fore in the form of depression, disease, and emotional breakdown.
The new concept of prosumers: When you talk about “Power Shift”, it discusses eclipsing of monetary wealth by knowledge and information as the primary determinant of power and its distribution. The manufacturing process and manufacturing goods will give way to knowledge-production and information-processing as the primary economic activity. The gap between the producer and the consumer is bridged by technology giving rise to the “prosumers.” Prosuming allows the corporation to outsource its labour for a third job to the unpaid consumer. The examples of this are available today in the form of an ATM where we do our own banking instead of a teller employed by the bank, or when we trace our own postal package on the internet instead of relying on a paid clerk.
The challenge to careers: With the growth of the technology in leaps and bounds and making deep inroads into our careers, how do we go about it in the Indian context? Imagine a situation where the consumer actually views the assembly of his car on the OEM line using his laptop. He has the full option to select the colour, model, engine type and features and makes the payment accordingly. This prosuming may do away with the marketing departments and dealerships altogether.
Technology disruptions: Today, the major manufacturers of machines track the running of the machines on the customer lines through internet based networks. They are able to check the performance and also diagnose the breakdowns. In no time, they are able to suggest the part replacements and other solutions in case of a malfunction. Does that mean that the maintenance is getting outsourced to the machine manufacturers?
Take charge of your career: The best way to take care of your career with such disruptions in technology taking place is to keep abreast with it and embrace it with open arms. The ensuing technology does not actually take away your job but transforms it by offering you a better option to work with it. The technology, in fact, opens up a wide range of options for you to work on. If you are ready for the change it will lead you to a more satisfying career than the monotonous job that you are carrying out at present.
Public sector versus private sector: The pace of change would be more prominent in the private sector as compared to the public sector. The example is evident from the fact that you still have a person doing your passbook updates in a public sector bank when the private sector does it through the ATM and net banking. The public sector sees the technology as a challenge to their easy going career and is more unionized in their approach to any transformation. However, in the private sector, the people are more open and know that their jobs can be challenged any moment. They are much more flexible in their approach and hence will adapt to the technological advances in a better fashion.
Dismantling careers in corruption: The government has got a feel of the technological disruption as an important tool to root out corruption. That is why it is radically adopting the computerization and digitization in its offices at a fast pace. With things going online, the provident fund offices, passport services, railway bookings and land records etc. are getting out of reach of the corrupt officials. This has augured well for the public in general. The careers of the middlemen that got generated from corruption are definitely ruined.
Steer your career in the right direction: The process of understanding the way to navigate your career is not difficult at all. By going through the article, it would be easy for you to adopt the disruptive technology and give a boost to your career. The career perceptions are changing fast and the public sector would also do well to change their thinking and go with the tide. The tide of information technology is very powerful. It is better to learn to go with the tide; otherwise, you would be swept by it. The choice is yours!
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