How to define yourself in the workplace of the future


I almost switched the headline above from “how to define yourself” to “how to brand yourself,” but I don’t think it’s healthy to people to view themselves as a product — because in the age of automation and artificial intelligence (AI), it is our humanity that gives us value.

That’s the point made by Aaron Hurst, chief executive of Imperative, which has developed a platform for peer coaching as a way to increase employee sense of purpose and fulfillment. Hurst argues in Big Think that as automation and AI continue to take over workplace functions, and as technology creates new jobs at an accelerating rate, our traditional view of “careers” must change. After all, that job you went to college for may not exist in 10 years.

“The second we think about ourselves with a professional label, we’re basically creating a fixed mindset about our careers that’s going to hold us back,” Hurst says.

Absolutely true, and when we cling to those labels we also give the rest of the world a fixed view of who we are, which matters a lot. Last year an editor I know pointed out that the author bio I use on their site was outdated in that it listed technologies I was covering five years ago. That made me realize my LinkedIn bio also was stale. (Remember this next time you come to me for career advice!) A little bit of updating and I was back on track. I soon saw a good bump in people looking at my LinkedIn profile and picked up some more freelance work, all because I better aligned how I presented my expertise and skills with the needs of the market.

Above and beyond your specific knowledge and skill set, Hurst says, you need a meta-view of yourself that goes beyond jobs and careers.

“The key is to fundamentally be able to recognize who you are at your core to define yourself based on your purpose, the impact you want to make, the kind of values you have,” he says. “What are the special powers that you have that transcend any job?”

If you’ve ever met someone who was strongly purpose-driven, you know how powerful that can be. Such people have palpable energy and drive that is infectious. Steve Jobs was a tough boss, yet his strong sense of vision and purpose inspired Apple to new heights of technological design and commercial success.

What’s your purpose? To solve complex problems? To launch and grow products or services? To figure out how to do things better? To empower and inspire others? Most people probably would struggle to define their purpose, but the payoff for doing so is a north star that will guide you through your professional life.

Speak Your Mind


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.