Reinvent Your Career to Integrate Complexity

Monday, July 15, 2019

The future of work has become a main topic of debate since, as studies show, many employees have developed a progressive disenchantment with their current work situation as well as levels of stress and anxiety related to the effects of ubiquitous artificial intelligence within the work environment.

Globalization and technological disruption bring about the redesign of work, the redefinition of jobs, and the revision of competency models. The results of these changes include the growing capacities of automation and an increase in quality jobs that provide greater value to employees.

Employees are expected to embark on a "polymorphous" career based on continuous retraining and reskilling upon this shifting in the workplace. An increasingly digital future can make it is difficult to have a clear, long-term perspective on career growth, though, because of constant change. They need to reconsider how they think about and organize their learning processes in an uncertain future.

Relying on traditional career development planning no longer guarantees success in this new environment where technological advances, consumer needs, and business models are ambiguous and fluctuate. We move, in many cases, in intangible territories. A less structured and flexible approach is necessary because many of our projections may not work as planned.


Rethinking or analyzing the future under this new perspective means assuming that there are several possible options we can shape. A less rigid design based on experimentation and feedback allows us to navigate those alternatives, make decisions more objectively, and establish more realistic priorities. Likewise, a test-and-learn approach confronts our assumptions and biases, opening the way to new and different ways of thinking.

The talent implied in these fundamental qualities highlights employees within a market where there are few opportunities for those nearing retirement age to be hired or where in-house training is insufficient to continue climbing the ladder of professional success within the same company. Today it is common for more people to develop their careers independently, so that training and promotion must also be managed in a more autonomous way. Yet those with these skills have developed flexibility, agility, autonomy, self-leadership, and curiosity—a mentality of self-improvement that entails continuous learning and strategic change.

To start designing our professional career, it is important to have a framework equipped with different methodologies and tools that make it easier for us to assume an active role in our futures. This frame of reference will open the door to a culture of exploration and experimentation that fosters our abilities to tackle deeper changes.

Analyzing and working on the future brings us closer to a better understanding of the processes of change, encouraging the recognition of patterns that foster the acquisition of more knowledge and reduction of complexity. Mapping past, present, and future in a critical way, questioning known assumptions, and approaching alternative methods to develop our professional career allows us to influence it in a more decisive manner.

About the Author

Patricia is a professional of information and communication technologies with experience at companies and organizations such as Siemens, Shell, Barclays Bank, Guardia Civil, Telefónica, Francisco de Victoria University, Nihon Kohden, and Repower. She holds a master’s in clinical neuropsychology and cognitive sciences and has been dedicated to the development of programs that promote digital transformation and business development based on the intersection of artificial intelligence and cognitive psychology. She lives in Madrid, Spain, where in recent years she has promoted forums on the impact of technology on contemporary labor practices and the design of the future of work

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Thanks for the great article. In my research, I've found the concept of career "lattice" over "ladder" helps people see what is needed. I've also found that with the push to self-driven career development (not waiting on a manager to promote you) that there's assumption it applies to all jobs/fields. I know that some fields, like law, very much maintain the "ladder." I like your point about "a test-and-learn approach confronts our assumptions and biases" - it applies to all field and roles.
Thank you for commenting on it Megan. Unfortunately there are still many organizations anchored in the hierarchy that feeds the egos.
We must keep in mind that the test and learn approach is one of the basis of science and it has to be one of the basis of our day to day experiences as well.
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