Last week I had a great dinner with my son Jack and we had an insightful conversation about his current internship with TracyLocke. He made fascinating observations about the workplace and it has become obvious to me that one of the most profound and fundamental shifts in our professional lives is how we all manage risk and uncertainty in this era of accelerating change.
Long work internships and “side gigs” are now the norm. But, I don’t believe it’s simply because companies are exploiting cheap labor, nor is it because young workers aren’t loyal or able to commit. It’s because it’s almost impossible for either party to guess which projects will be viable or which skills will be required even 18 months into the future.
So, managers and workers are adapting. Internships are actually multiple-month-long interviews to gauge adaptability and innate problem solving ability.
And, workers who‘re asked to specialize at a job and risk missing out on the rise in popularity of other skills, manage that risk by diversifying their skills during their personal time and cultivating potential, alternative income channels.
Both sides know what the other side is doing and why. So, these new arrangements are becoming increasingly transparent and common.
As broad categories of people, young workers haven’t become more lazy or disloyal and hiring managers aren’t more indecisive or greedy than they have been in the past. It’s simply that the rate of change is accelerating and no one really knows what’s coming next or how they should prepare for it. So, they’re all hedging their decisions as best they can with new workplace relationships.
These are fascinating times and I absolutely love being able to witness and discuss it with our children as they enter the world of work.