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Are you thinking like a free agent?

Are you thinking like a free agent?

Isn’t the notion of “A” career a quaint throwback to another time?  How prepared are you for a lifetime of rapid fire change? Do you have coping skills and resiliency? How do you manage your lifelong learning? Are you getting leadership development support from your current employer? If not, how are our institutions of  higher education being impacted in their effectiveness to prepare us?

Many of us have had to approach our professional growth like free agents responsible for our own development. So, we have a stake in understanding the currents sweeping over higher education. Technologies and market forces are setting up to engulf yet another institutional bastion in a tsunami of disruptive change.

Clayton M. Christensen, author of the notion of disruptive innovation is advancing his work by co-authoring a new book titled The Innovative University: Changing the DNA of the University From The Inside Out. Christensen is known for his work on how technology innovations fuel radical change. The advances don’t even need to be better if they make it easier for an underserved market segment to find a less expensive alternative to their niche interest  or need at the expense of established market share leaders. Here is a reference and more about the new book from the Harvard Business School forum, Working Knowledge.

Also coming out next February is a book in pre-release called The Start Up Of You by Reid Garrett Hoffman (co-founder of LinkedIn) and Ben Casnocha. Here is what Thomas L. Friedman said in a July 11 New York Times OpEd about the need to ” have the critical thinking skills to do the value-adding jobs that technology can’t” “people who can invent, adapt and reinvent their jobs every day, in a market that changes faster than ever.” Ok free agent, did you get those skills with your degree? How are you keeping them sharp now?

Something else creating waves in our institutions of higher learning? I don’t know where the goal posts have been moved to for higher education funding in the federal budget fight and what ramifications that will have to add energy to the higher ed tsunami. Well, you get the picture.

Our sons and daughters will need to navigate their professional lives sans the familiar institutional framework we relied on for career preparation. I am not saying that there is no longer a legitimate and important place for higher education. What I am saying is that it is no longer enough.

And here is another thought: if you are between the ages of 35-65, what are you going to do to stay relevant and out of the unemployment line?   Where are you going to rekindle your curiosity, your ability to pursue discovery and recharge your burned out battery?

It is so easy to fall into the trap of defending our perceptions or our attachments to the way it used to be that we miss opportunities to embrace the creativity and discovery we need to find new solutions.

Are these dynamics on your radar screen? What are you doing to enrich your professional life or are you just lowering your expectations and in survival mode?


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