My father worked for several employers throughout his career but he was at the last one for more than 30 years. That was normal for the time. Find a good job and keep it. Don’t let go of a 401k, pension, or health insurance.
When I quit my nice secure position at the University of Colorado Boulder, my parents didn’t quite understand why. Why would I give up my health insurance and retirement contributions?
They promptly called my brother to make sure everything was okay.
It was. And I was. But there was some familial churn … and noticeable confusion between the generations.
Our work — our careers — have become more fluid than ever before. Global connectivity and remote work have lent themselves to greater flexibility and also greater attachment. 9-5 exists in some places but not like it used to. We work on our laptops, our tablets, our phones. We listen in on meetings while taking kids to school and send emails from the gym. It’s fast and efficient, but that doesn’t always make it easy.
For many of us, it’s not just the description that has changed — it’s the opportunities and responsibilities that have.
The statement, our job description is changing, and that’s ok, was made with designers in mind, but it’s true for more than just designers.
In 2017, Oracle sponsored a Business Insider report about our work and how it’s changing. “To succeed, there needs to be greater investment in people, methods, and technology. We must embrace the new workforce and challenge existing models and ways of working.”
That is still certainly true for 2020. We’ve adjusted our existing models, some companies more than others. But whether we work in medicine or auto mechanics or supply chain management, we all shoulder different kinds of challenges, pressure, and responsibility.
My life at Relevant Bits didn’t change much in 2020 because we were already a remote agency. But understanding the “new workforce” and how job roles are changing is part of our business. We have to keep an eye on how companies and industries are shifting, and these days, some of that is happening fast.
While my parents don’t question my career choices as much anymore, they still have an unfamiliarity with the kind of flexibility and responsibility younger generations have assumed.
I think we can take that freedom … the freedom to change jobs and entertain big ideas … and use it to understand our impacts on each other. We can use it to better invest in people, improve our methods and approaches, and build better technology.
So, I’m excited if our job descriptions are changing. We’re ready.
This piece is part of our 100 Lessons series. When the UX Collective published their annual trends report (100 Design Lessons for 2021), I looked through and wondered what it would be like if members from our team were given one of the statements or questions and asked to write an article around it. So, with little guidance or direction, that’s what we’re doing. Follow along to see if anything interesting comes out of it!