Multi-Dimensional Global Careers: You Can Be Anything or Everything

This article was originally posted at LinkedIn and is now also shared on Huffington Post

“Life is long. Fill it up!” Mattel (Barbie Vlog #9)

Really? Did I just quote Barbie?! Of course not. She’s not a real person. However, I did quote the Mattel brand masters who are morphing Barbie into a cultural phenomenon once again. Barbie is now a Vlogger with over one million subscribers and she has great adult advice to boot.

I stumbled upon Vlog #9 while searching for info on Mattel’s new brand strategy and it’s quite a find. In addition to giving young girls a new way to spend their “YouTube” time, the video also provides useful insights about life skills, gender, diversity, and leadership. When I showed the video to my preteen daughter, she giggled because her life is like the one Barbie described. So is mine.

She has always wanted to be many things throughout her life and at her early age she has already experienced naysayers who have tried to tell her that what she wants isn’t possible. With a fundamental belief that all things are possible, I will never tell her that she can’t be everything that she sets out to become. I would never tell anyone else that either.

Take a couple minutes and amuse yourself with this video.

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You Can Be Anything — or Everything

In a previous post I mentioned that one-dimensional humans are not possible and promised to take up the subject again. Barbie’s video prompted me to do it sooner than I had planned but life is like that — unexpected and interesting.

Research confirms that multi-dimensional global careers are the new norm. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average worker now holds 10 jobs before the age of 40. Going further Forrester Research predicts that today’s youngest workers will have between 12 to 15 jobs in their lifetimes. To be clear — the world of work has changed — for better and for good.

Workers in the 21st century are now required to keep pace — unprompted — with required knowledge and skills (including social media management). The necessary knowledge and skills can be acquired via more than 4,200 MOOC courses. Workers may need to interview for new roles about once every two years. They can expect to compete more broadly with global experts in their field as more countries and individuals are brought on line in the most remote parts of the world. Many of the new contenders will have acquired their competitive edge via free Internet services and solar-powered lamps. Success formulas have changed.

Multi-Dimensional Global Careers

If we’re to follow Barbie’s advice and fill up our lives, then there are unlimited opportunities for exploring interests and passions in addition to careers all the while bulking up on the much contested 10,000 hours of commitment in particular focus areas.

We’re at a familiar cross-roads and multi-dimensional global career change is at hand.

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…In the 1860’s and 1870’s, the American economy went through perhaps the greatest transformation in its history. This was when the railways were built, and when Wall Street emerged. It was when industrial manufacturing started in earnest. It was when all the rules by which the traditional economy functioned were broken and remade.

-Malcolm Gladwell (Outliers — The 10,000 Hour Rule)

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A review of the Futurework Report (1999) published by the US Department of Labor is a fascinating read and shows how dramatic changes have been so far this century. I’ve listed some of the predictions here:

  • [1] In five years almost half of all workers will be employed in industries that produce or are intensive users of Information Technology
  • [2] Young women are enrolling in college at a higher rate (70%) than young men (64%)
  • [3] American workers get only 7 hours of sleep every night…365 hours a year less than recommended
  • [4] Some of the fastest growing occupations for the future are Computer Engineers, Computer Support Specialists, Database Administrators, System Analysts
  • [5] By 2050, the US population is expected to increase by 50%

Life is Long

In addition to so many new career possibilities, we’re also living longer — with more time to fill up. According to the CDC, the average life expectancy is now 78.8 years and continues to tick up.

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So what to do with all of that new time? Enjoy it of course! Explore the world around you in new ways and become all of those things that you’ve always wanted to become. One doesn’t have to wait until the end of a career to start living.

Imagine the Possibilities, Reflect on the Past

Today is the start of Black History Month which reminds me of all of the great human beings who against all odds have proven that anything and everything is possible. #GoogleDoodle opened the month with Frederick Douglass who was (and is) one of the most powerful voices in America’s history. Celebrate endless possibilities this month with daily reflections on the past, living in the present, and preparing for the future.

Dr. Mae Jemison is a great place to start.

Life is long. How will you fill yours up?

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Lillian Gregory is a passionate advocate for 21st Century Leadership with special focus on Women in Leadership, Women in Technology, and US Veterans and Spouses. She provides research, strategies, tools, workshops, and events to help close leadership and career strategy gaps. Download your NEW eBook from The Institute for Human and Leadership Excellence and get ready to climb!

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