Will future trends reshape your career?

Researching and studying future trends has been a master key for my success in the workplace! Of course, Toffler’s prediction of 3–5 career changes seemed, on the surface, to be both absurd and ridiculous in the early 70’s, and seemed to most to be just as odd years later when I started Career Design in the late 70’s.

Becoming a futurist and attending the annual World Future Society conferences for the last 20-plus years has stimulated my foresight and intuitional abilities. This year the WFS will be meeting in Boston in July, and at each conference I coordinate the career counseling sessions for the attendees. This helps me spot coming career problems. My colleagues – career counselors from all over the US and abroad – volunteer their time to help the attendees gain focus and meaning.

The Futurist, a monthly publication of the World Future Society, is packed with insights into the future. From the most recent issue, “The Top 10 Forecasts for 2010 and Beyond,” are:

  1. Book publishers may need to hire movie directors. Books are finally going multimedia and digital, and publishers are offering more content online for free. Textbooks will bring together a wide variety of talents to create a multimedia “book.” The shift from print to multimedia means that the writers of the future will work with Web designers, software developers and other professionals to create products. The next step for publishers will be involving the readers in the publishing process, using them to set prices and give input on what to publish. —Patrick Tucker (“The 21st-Century Writer,” July-Aug 2008, p. 25).
  2. Retirees in the United States will increasingly return to the workforce. One-third of Americans who retire are back on the job two years later, and growing numbers of retirees are choosing to start their own businesses. About one in five people, and 40% of seniors, say they plan to continue working until they die, and nearly two-thirds of Americans say they doubt that retirement is possible for the middle class. —Marvin J. Cetron and Owen Davies (“Trends Shaping Tomorrow’s World, Part Two,” May–June 2008, p. 43).
  3. The United States is headed for a “demographic singularity.” Management professor Nat Irvin II defines demographic singularity as a pace of change so fast that the American identity as we know it will be irreversibly altered. He puts the year for the singularity at 2015, when minorities will make up 40% of the U.S. population. —Nat Irving II (quoted in “Thinking Globally, Acting Locally, Living Personally,” Nov-Dec 2007, p. 57).
  4. Empowering girls through education will improve future communities. Girls who have access to adequate secondary education are much more likely to practice family planning, according to a new report. The report also finds that education increases girls’ civic participation and makes them less likely to experience sexual harassment, to contract HIV/AIDS, or to fall victim to sexual or labor trafficking. —World Trends & Forecasts (Jan-Feb 2008, p. 8).
  5. Americans may turn away from antidepressants. According to anthropologist Helen Fisher, Americans are taking 100 million prescriptions for antidepressants. “We know these drugs kill the sex drive. I maintain that these drugs also kill your ability to love and your ability to stay in love,” she says. As possible side-effects become more apparent, fewer people may elect to take antidepressant drugs like Prozac and Paxil. —Helen Fisher (quoted in “Thinking Globally, Acting Locally, Living Personally,” Nov–Dec 2007, p. 2).
  6. You’ll have more friends you’ll never meet, and cyberfriends may outnumber real-life friends. The generation of young people now aged 12–24 years may have more friends whom they will have never met in person. Unlike older cohorts, Gen Y-ers (aka the Millennial Generation) are comfortable with befriending strangers virtually via social networking sites and other cyber options that connect people based on their interests rather than physical location. —Andy Hines (“Global Trends in Culture, Infrastructure, and Values,” Sept–Oct 2008, p. 20).
  7. Employment in the United States will continue to rise. Total employment in the United States will increase by 15.6 million jobs between 2006 and 2016. However, this rate is slightly slower than that of the previous decade. “In-person” jobs such as health-care and those for other services workers will grow, while jobs that can be outsourced likely will be. Experts recommend that young people educate themselves now for more-global career opportunities in the future. —World Trends & Forecasts (May–June 2008, p. 6).