The Winds of Change

After a few years of working in the one job, it's worth taking time to reflect on what you've achieved, and how you've accomplished it. You might find that along the way you've neglected a factor critical to your future success.

Routines, often formalised as "Standard Operating Procedures" in the professional world, provide a predictable, repeatable method for accomplishing a task. Whether it's a favourite recipe, a pilot's pre-flight check-list, or the volumes that tell you how to safely run a nuclear reactor, we rely on them in situations ranging from the mundane to the life-threatening.

Work in this sort of environment for a long time, with mostly incremental changes to how things operate, and you can become very experienced - perhaps even expert - at doing what you get paid to do. However, if I remind you that other parts of your life may have been settling into their own "routine" over this same period, you may get an uneasy sense of where I'm going with this. The danger is not what you might expect though: it's not that things aren't going well. Indeed, your professional and personal life might be deeply satisfying.

The danger is comfort. Creatures that survive in the wild are those that are attuned and ready to react to a multitude of existential threats. For them, nothing is guaranteed; they must be self-sufficient and act decisively at a moments notice. But you can't run from danger, swim to safety, or repel an attack if you've spent the majority of your adult life sitting at a desk during the day and on a couch during the evening. Have you also let your work skills stagnate through an overly-relaxed attitude to personal and professional development and networking? Have you down-played the importance of the "disruptive technologies" on your life? The Internet, social media and globalisation have seen old job roles disappear and never-before-heard-of one's spring up in an unprecedented era, where the 'middle-man' and 'gatekeeper' no longer hold sway over who gets an opportunity.

If you do nothing else, you owe it to yourself and your family to raise your head in the air, take a sniff (even cautious one) and at least check the most likely direction of the winds of change. You know they're coming; the only question that remains is "are you ready for them"?