How to thrive in the future world of work

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If you want to improve your chances of thriving in the modern world of work, you need to get fit – mentally and financially.

Why? Because all the signs are pointing towards a future in which people will increasingly have to fend for themselves – to operate as freelancers, contractors, consultants and entrepreneurs. And in order to do that successfully, you’ll need to know how to manage yourself and manage your money.  

Four years ago I wrote a blog about the issues created when learning institutions educate people to work in professions that require them to operate as freelancers, but then send them out into the world after graduation with none of the skills necessary to survive in that context.

This problem (lack of skills to manage self-employment) is even more evident today – and not just for those trained in the arts.

For example, the ability to manage finances well is critical to anyone who has to survive between jobs or contracts.

Saving for the downtimes might be easier said than done, particularly if the contracts you have are not well paid. But without some form of financial security, it will be difficult to muster the confidence to demand the rate you deserve, or to turn down work when you have too much on your plate. It can quickly become an unsustainable, downward spiral.

Mental ‘toughness’ is just as important to manage those down times between jobs or contracts (as I’ve written about here and here). As sole operators, there is not the peer support readily available, or the support that people might once have relied on from their manager. So getting some skills to look after yourself with the help of a coach or mentor will also be important.

These sentiments were echoed by economist Shamubeel Eaqub when he spoke at CareerX 2018, a CDANZ event held in Auckland last month. He said there will be less security and stability in future and careers will be more volatile – and what’s needed is personal resilience and life-long learning, negotiating skills and financial resilience to manage change, prepare for retirement through savings and for negotiating true worth.

He also said that people will need career coaching through life, not a ‘one off’. As a career coach I would have to agree wholeheartedly with that statement! But seriously, having support is an important consideration – whether that is in the form of a career coach, financial advisor, business mentor, or all of the above.

If you need support to find out how well suited you might be to being your own boss, to transition into self employment, or to feel better prepared for the future world of work, get in touch.


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About the author: Lucy Sanderson-Gammon, MBA, is a Wellington-based career coach helping mid-career professionals who have fallen out of love with their jobs to find meaningful work. She also provides career development for those who want to get ahead at work or make a transition after redundancy.