Did we lean to lean the wrong way?
A thought on what is important
We are not the same as our parents.
Our lives will never follow the same path as them. Human beings pass knowledge from generation to generation, letting the future generation build upon it. Past knowledge + new knowledge lets us create a system that helps us navigate through life. There have been many drastic changes that humanity had to go through to reach what is now. However, what we are in now is the most change that humans have ever seen. We are in the information age, the age where knowledge becomes obsolete much faster than a generation. Right now we have more data from around the world than we have ever gathered in entire human civilization. You can watch a live update on world events at Worldmeter.info
We are the lucky once, we are the once who can learn with the highest accuracy. The shift of mass media from television boxes to the internet over wireless devices have taken away the latency and gave us information on demand. But are we keeping up with this change?
Millennial are considered as a generation that failed, they have the lowest self-esteem of all generation. "Millennial the job-hopping generation", some studies clam 49% of millennial would quit their current job within the next two years. A 2019 survey by Deloitte says that millennial are disillusioned with traditions, skeptical of business motives and pessimistic about economic and social progress.
How many of you have trouble describing to someone what you do for a living?
The job market at present is filled with title, tech companies are spitting out a newer job tile almost every next day. I was born when the major socially acclaimed jobs included engineer, doctor, architect, advocate, IAS/IPS. Al least this is what most or all that I heard among peers and teachers. There is a possibility that these are just to make hiring simpler for companies. The HR has complete freedom to use a job title while posting a job which may differ from that is used internally. It is to understand that there are many factors that an HR considers while choosing a job title, one among them is SEO. Choosing a wrong title can slow down hiring, certain job titles are popular among the crowd than others and this keeps the loop going.
Everything could change after your initial job posting. Now there are many job options you haven’t ever heard off, with varying skill set. The tech world is expanding ever fast that newer skills are always in demand. The stuff you help create at your job is making someone else’s job obsolete, sooner the skill that you learned so hard to make that stuff will also become obsolete. Skill gap refers to the difference between the skills required for a job and the skills employee possesses. A 2020 report from ManpowerGroup says that Talent shortage is increasing around the world and many roles are at the risk of being replaced by automation. This indicates that to be successful in career one require an evolving skill set.
I am an optimist and I believe that this is a positive change. Instead of being trained for a particular job title, why can’t we prepare ourselves for the uncertain?
Monomaths Vs Polymaths
A Monomath is a hard-core specialist. A person who is focused on one particular subject or activity VS a Polymath is someone who has a generalized skill set or has mastery over many fields. My argument here is to devalue the conventional wisdom of jack of all trades master of none that is being perpetuated especially among millennial.
The ideology against generalist has persisted over hundreds of years in multiple languages. Let me phrase it again “It has been around for OVER HUNDREDS OF YEARS!”. Well, I have already mentioned that socioeconomic conditions have changed and is going through an exponential change. If you look at the most successful innovators who have put forth disruptive ideas many or most of them are generalists. Yes, it requires hard work to tag along with multiple interests and be updated in all of them. As per the 2020 Linked-in opportunity index, working hard (81%) tops the list of what people perceive it takes to get ahead in life, a willingness to embrace change (80%) comes in a close second. People recognize that they have to work hard, adopt a growth mindset and embrace lifelong learning as the economic landscape and job market evolves.”
The specialization is not a good thing at least not in the long term. Specialization in a broader sense is an ability to recognize patterns and navigate through them quickly which comes only through repetition. As the work environment changes ever so rapidly we might have to leave specialization to computers, which can process patterns and large chunks of data much efficiently. I found a wonderful article over at Scientific Amercan about generalist in the scientific community that can provide more insight on "demand for generalist among scientists".
I would argue that if any are failing to become successful generalists it is because schools and society were designed to encourage focus in single expertise, forcing few ever to develop the necessary skill set for the current world. This system that came to existence during the Industrial revolution was meant to create factory ready individuals. In this era, education should never be about providing book full of information or should narrow down on a particular skill (probably to earn a job) but rather plant the seeds of curiosity in oneself so to become an eternal learner.
“Never memorize something that you can look up”- Albert Einstein. I assume these words were meant for his students in the scientific community, who were lucky enough to have access to pure literature. As of now, you must have understood where I am going with this. Yes, we now have similar opportunities, the only thing one needs to have is a willingness to learn. A genuine interest in the subject will make you dig deeper and never be afraid to cross borders.
This is just my opinion! maybe something to think about too.
If you are feeling generous!