The future of work

The future of work

I read in a journal that cited 2 MIT research scientists as suggesting that neither workers nor capitalists will be the real winners in the economy of the future. Instead, the rapid proliferation of digital technology will allow a third class – people who can create new products, services and business models to prosper immensely.

This innovator class is what I intuitively understood that we needed to transition to eventually to break free from the rat race, but I had no clue how to go about doing so.

Forget about the part about prospering for a moment – to me, that is a natural outcome if you manage to crack the code to building a successful business. I just desperately wanted to not have to work for an ungrateful employer and allow factors outside my control to determine my financial and career future.

When I started in my very first corporate job in a large multinational company, my job was eliminated within 3 months after I joined. Imagine my shock as me and several other new joiners had just completed a series of trainings, and the next thing I knew was that our entire team (more than 20 people) was going to be shifted to China. However, I managed to switch to another role within the company, and I ended up working there for another 4 years or so. Over the course of my career, I had also experienced involuntary job losses, or meeting insufferable bosses that I decided I did not want to work for any more.

All these experiences made me realise that working for a company is not a sure-win formula to a stable and rewarding career. That might have been true in my parents’ generation, but job security and employer loyalty is not something I necessarily expect. Also, more often than not, employers are just looking to maximise their profits, and looking after staff well-being may be in direct conflict with that. There are also very few genuinely nice bosses in my opinion.

More importantly, I think the reason why I want to start a business is because I want to have a hand in shaping what I do in my career. I enjoy the challenge of learning, and also being able to apply myself in something I find meaningful. The ability to work with a cooperative team, each applying our own skills towards a common goal is an attractive one. However, I know there is a lot to learn about how to run a successful business, and just having a dream is not enough. It is a brutal world out there. I don’t know if I can attain this career goal in my lifetime, but if a suitable opportunity arises, I would still like to give it a try.

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