“When I grow up I want to be a …”
Remember talking to your friends in primary school, confidently telling them what you were going to do when you grew up?
If so, answer this. Are you doing it now?
Well, I’m not a Truck Driver, nor do I have a truck licence for any category of heavy vehicle. Yet, when I was in primary school that was my plan and I told all and sundry about it.
I can’t even remember the last time I rode in a truck as a passenger (although I did get a ride in a Mack Truck semi-trailer when I was about ten years old and that was awesome).
Instead, I have chosen to work in the recruitment and human resource consulting field, helping companies to attract talent into their organisations and working with candidates to progress their career or find a new path.
The working world of today is so diverse and everyday new career paths are being invented. The range of study options offered by tertiary institutions and training companies is vast and frankly, must be seriously challenging for school leavers who are unsure what they want to do. When the choices are more limited, say to one of half a dozen trades (eg plumber, electrician, carpenter) or a similar number of professional options (eg. lawyer, accountant, medical professional) then things are relatively simple. But now, with limitless options it is no wonder people are moving from one job to the next more often than ever before, often to try something new.
It was only 17 years ago when I started my career, which in the grand scheme of humanity is very recently. Yet the pace of change during this time has been phenomenal. At that time I was recruiting in the accounting sector and initially placing accounts clerks in large processing teams. Today, many of my clients have either automated this function, to a large extent, using invoice scanning software and ERP accounting systems connected online to bank accounts to make payment runs, or alternatively outsourced this function to a lower cost country.
On the flip side, I now recruit roles that rarely existed back then, such as digital marketing managers, ERP systems accountants and data analysts.
The choice is yours to make
I recently worked on a recruitment assignment with a candidate who is now in a career that is completely different to what he did before. After several years working in a trade, he decided to study as a mature age student and embark on a new career path. He is now a property finance specialist and doing even more study. He loves it.
When I asked him why he made the decision to study (which was expensive both in terms of money and family time) and then start from the bottom in a new career he simply answered, “why not?”. He then expanded and explained he wasn’t keen on doing the same job he had always done and thought why should all of today’s job options only apply to younger people.
Entitlement is gone, but empowerment is here
A job for life is a thing of the past. Today is about empowerment, not entitlement. The combination of self-determination, access to the internet (for study and research) and curiosity allows most people to access new career opportunities. It is certainly an exciting time. Work from home opportunities, franchise opportunities, new technologies and advances in the sciences are changing the employment landscape like never before.
So back when I was in primary school dreaming of driving a big rig, I had no idea that trucks would be driven remotely from a computer console hundreds of kilometres away like they are now on mine sites around the world. And with driverless cars coming online now, I suspect more and more trucks will follow suit. A world of driverless vehicles may mean that Truck Drivers as we’ve known them may one day not exist. But the technology required to make this happen will create new jobs and impact many other industries such as insurers, maintenance providers, emergency services creating even more opportunities.
What about you?
Is it time to explore what else may be out there for you? You might be surprised how many options there are.
Ben Walsh – General Manager; Recruitment