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The Future of Work is Now

Ma Carmela Azurin
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Reposting, with permission, an article written by Alma Jimenez, DOT Deputy Secretary, Philippines.


Times are uncertain, answers are hard to find. When the COVID spikes settle, we will be faced with new realities - or as the oft-repeated phrase say "the new normal". Sometimes I wonder - was the "old normal" world we inhabited got "abnormal"? - but I digress.

If that was an unequal or inequitable world, would the 'new normal' bring in equality and equity? If that was an "exclusive" world, will it become more inclusive? If that was a lopsided world, will it tilt the balance? Some things we cannot explain, but our gut feel says it will be at least, a different world. Whether it will be kinder, gentler, more just and more discerning, will depend on how we all process, reflect and apply the learning.

For sure, we are not going back to the "old" - which means we will all learn to live in the "new' (and I will not say normal, because what is?). Chances are, it's back to zero as we try to figure out what will work now, how we will define the work environment we will shortly meet, what new business models and even products and services will evolve, and what will make us survive the difficult times ahead.

This will make lifelong learning more relevant than ever - that the skills needed then and now, will be the ability to adapt to changing circumstances and critical thinking. Pre-COVID, we discussed this as if its a theoretical framework for the future of work that we can take time to prepare for. What do you know, THE FUTURE OF WORK IS NOW. It is time to upskill, reskill, or totally forget the past competencies and develop new ones.

This may seem to be anxiety-producing now - but look at the bright side - nobody is also prepared anyway; not the leaders, not the employees, not the organizations. If you have not really enjoyed being inside a box in your "past', this is the best time to get out of it and re-invent, to think about what you always wanted to do but can't - and now this door opens.

Today, experience- whether related or not- should expand perspective, not narrow the choices. As long as there is acceptance that we are humans constantly learning and evolving, we can survive and thrive in every challenge that come our way.

Maybe that time is now. Take this opportunity to remove the shackles that tie you to a past that no longer serves. 2020 is the year for clarity of sight and vision. Chart your paths.