Journeys are the New Careers.
There is no question that we are in a time of great change. Pain and suffering abound and many questions of identity arise. Conflicts mount. And soon unexpected leaders will emerge. It’s the kind of thing many of us have never lived through. It’s funny: when you read things in history books you rarely think something so momentous would happen in your life.
When contemplating the struggles of today it can be helpful to talk about current times as an historian would. How will these times be remembered? What name would a clever historian assign to the history-book-worthy changes washing through today’s society? Who’s struggles will be remembered and who will be seen as enemies to progress? What was not obvious today that will be so obvious in 100 years?
As we’ve seen throughout history, different generations are labeled by how they cope with the country’s big systems and the times in general. The labels represent a collective change in mindset. Beginning with Millennials we have a glance into the future of what people will overwhelmingly value. And it looks very different from what we’re exiting right now. Democracy per se isn’t challenged, but a democracy in which out of touch politicians rule is being challenged. Capitalism per se isn’t challenged, but reckless industry, excess and throw-away culture is being challenged. Totalitarian agriculture isn’t being challenged, but people want their food grown within driving distance and with much less unneeded animal and planet harm. The new mindset is the product of a growing awareness that the aforementioned systems were discovered to be immature. Democracy, capitalism and agriculture all need to, frankly, grow up.
Enveloped in this new mindset is a kind of coming of age. Many of us, regardless of age, are experiencing a mindset change in response to these great changes unfolding before us. One of the many interesting affects of this change is a different view on career. One’s role in the world is a new focus. Being labeled by career is becoming less desirable. Rather, we are changing focus to our journey. Concerns for money are becoming secondary or tertiary because many people are realizing they may already have enough (or at least they need far fewer quantities of things). This is major: every single generation since the formation of the USA has succeeded in amassing more wealth than their parents. And this ends with Millennials* (*acknowledging this may still only be a guess). Perhaps partly because we’re hitting a resource tipping point, and more likely because values are changing. And maybe the former influences that latter.
One could imagine that once the world began farming on mass scales years and years ago, the idea of a career was novel and exciting. There were probably dissidents who thought “what more could there be than feeding one’s family? What greater good?” And it may be wise to consider the same today. We may be exiting whatever age they’ll call this one (the end of the industrial era, which was driven by one’s love for business success?) and sparking the beginnings of what we call in a previous post the Introspective Revolution, the age in which humans set off for the next frontier of human understanding.
In all these blog posts we include how design is related to the blog topic. Design can be a powerful tool for driving change, especially of oneself. We believe design helps to set the stage for the next steps in one’s journey. What’s your next step? Who’s your next persona? In what kind of surroundings does that persona exist? And for whom are you waiting to build that next world?