In a way my now 35 year life has been a series of economic crises – the Nordic financial downturn of 1991-1996, the IT bubble crash of 2000-2002 and the great recession of 2008-who knows when. That’s more than half of my years on this earth and it has definitely left a mark on me. The Guardian has written a series of articles on the gap between the baby boomer generation and the following X and Y generations, that latter to which I belong.
The Y-generation has surely benefited from some of the effects of globalisation – cheap electronics, travel and inexpensive online services. But it hardly outweighs the reality many young people now face – job insecurity, ever toughening social services and higher living expenses in general.
Personally I’m doing quite well and I tend to attribute it to my ability to adapt and be flexible. It’s sad to say but in today’s work climate, there is a growing gap between jobs that require very few skills and the jobs that require a lot. The middle ground is somehow disappearing. The requirements in the workplace nowadays are simply much tougher than what they used to be and a lot of it has to do with having both a deep knowledge in one key area while still having a grasp of a wide area of subjects. Being good enough simply doesn’t cut it anymore.
One part of my job is to simply try to come up with ways we can outsource (to a consultant or to our customers) or automate tasks which are too tedious or redundant for us to do so that we can focus on things that really matter. Because of this I’m now able to do what three people would have done perhaps ten years ago. It’s anything from data collection to analysis, from marketing automation to letting users find information they’re looking for on their own.
The age of crises has taught me that it’s not so much that you prepare but rather that you adapt. It will get a lot worse before it gets better and the only way to make it out is by working smarter and not taking things for granted. It’s up to you.