It’s been said that the only real constant is change. If that is true, things have been VERY consistent over the past few years.
It seems that we are in a constant state of flux, as old businesses disappear and new industries crop up. This uncertain trend has a major impact on the psychology behind our regional workforce, as well. This new generation of workers has been called Generation Flux, and they represent an entirely new mindset for how people work and live in this New Economy.
The new profile for GenFluxers is people who are flexible, adaptable, and open-minded to all the changes that are taking place around them. In a recent article by Robert Safian, “This Is Generation Flux: Meet The Pioneers Of The New (And Chaotic) Frontier Of Business,” the author notes:
“It’s not about having a tool kit of skills that allows you to cut through the ambiguity of this era. Rather, it is that the variety of her experiences that leave you well prepared for whatever the future brings…You do not have to be a jack-of-all-trades to flourish in the age of flux, but you do need to be open-minded… If ambiguity is high and adaptability is required, then you simply can’t afford to be sentimental about the past. Future-focus is a signature trait of Generation Flux. It is also an imperative for businesses: Trying to replicate what worked yesterday only leaves you vulnerable.”
I have been coaching many college students to be ready for this chaotic type of work environment. The reality is that for many college undergraduates, their first job out of college doesn’t even exist yet. That’s how fast the change is happening. As organizations rebuild, restructure, and regenerate, they are creating new job roles, new responsibilities, and new titles for the workforce of the New Economy.
Safian points out that these are exciting and scary times. But this isn’t the first time we’ve been through this sort of drastic change:
“The chaos ahead sounds pretty grim. But its corollary is profound: This is the moment for an explosion of opportunity, there for the taking by those prepared to embrace the change. We have been through a version of this before. At the turn of the 20th century, as cities grew to be the center of American culture, those accustomed to the agrarian clock of sunrise-sunset and the pace of the growing season were forced to learn the faster ways of the urban-manufacturing world. There was widespread uneasiness about the future, about what a job would be, about what a community would be. Fringe political groups and popular movements gave expression to that anxiety. Yet, from those days of ambiguity emerged a century of tremendous progress.”
I don’t know about you, but I think this is a great time to be alive and actively swimming in this sea of change. The trick is that you have to start swimming now. Oh, and water wings aren’t allowed.