May 1, 2020 | The jobs of the future


It’s not a secret that both the Millennials and the Z-generation are vision- or mission-oriented. Young people are no longer looking for a paycheck in their jobs, but also a broader purpose (or, from Japanese, ikigai). This can have really interesting long-term consequences for the job market. In particular, it can be predicted that one new type of job is going to emerge soon. 

Firstly, how does helping PhDs in developing new careers looks like? One starts from writing books, and then organizing courses for PhD graduates looking for jobs on the open job market. One task leads to another, and the scope of your actions grows. Universities start ordering your services as a speaker, as well as an external, private career advisor in cases when some of their research employees need to quickly transition to industry.

The point is, when you dedicate yourself solve a particular problem, you can’t stop the ball from rolling. Sooner or later, you will end up juggling twenty different roles to tackle the same problem from different angles — roles that were traditionally seen as separate professions. And if, in the name of your goal, you need to learn one more skill and take one more role that you never imagined you would ever take, so be it!


Therefore, jobs of the future will probably be more fluid: less defined by the activity that you are doing (e.g., data scientist = a person who analyzes data, politician = a person who proposes and passes bills in the government, author = person who writes books) but more by the problem you are solving. You will become an expert on topic XYZ (or, be oriented at solving the problem XYZ) by taking a wide range of actions to solve this particular problem that traditionally belonged to separate professions, e.g., research, lobbying in the parliament, public speaking, writing books, teaching, developing commercial products for consumers and/or businesses, etc. 

I would compare the difference between developing the “traditional”, specialistic careers, and being a “problem solver” to the difference between being a speed-runner and a chess player. In running, the point is to get towards the target in the straight line and to make consequent and well-defined steps as fast as possible. For instance, if you want to become the top data scientist, you need to learn statistics, learn about the data science and machine learning tools, pick data science jobs, collect a portfolio of completed projects, and always aim at the more challenging, complex, and prestigious project than the projects you had before. Then, you get orders from some good-brand companies, and together with your portfolio and experience, your network and your earnings will steadily grow. The faster you complete your projects, the better for you, and the faster you will get to the higher price range for your services.

However, what happens when you, for instance, decide to solve some societal problem instead — as an example, let’s say, improve the situation of single mothers in your country? You probably realize there is a problem based on personal encounters with single mothers who tell you about their situation. So, you do some field research, reach out to more single mothers, and try to estimate how big this problem is. Then, if you are a researcher with access to some public funds, you might think of more systematic studies. Next, you start some online activities to raise awareness of this topic: blogging, tweeting, writing articles on Medium/LinkedIn. You might also write a book after you analyze the problem throughout. You try to find people who think alike, and who are interested in solving the same problem. You might present at some conferences, and meetups to bring more awareness to the issue. You might even get invited to speak about the problem in the government if you meet the right people. From this point, you can develop in different directions. Perhaps, you create some (online) educational program for single mothers or collaborate with the official authorities to write a new bill offering new tax reductions, subsidies, or an extra budget for education. Or, perhaps, other people invite you to participate in their initiatives. You might find yourself learning new skills every day, juggling ten different activities traditionally seen as separate professions within one year, taking detours and career moves that you would not be able to predict a few months or even a few weeks before. Before making every move sideways, you need to think and evaluate whether, strategically, this move serves the ultimate purpose (or, will serve the purpose a few moves ahead).


To do this type of job, you need to be a generalist who easily crosses the boundaries between different environments, easily finds their way with people, quickly adapts, and can draw conclusions based on noisy or incomplete information. The number of mindful individuals who fit this profile is steadily increasing. They usually have a difficult start though — if you are a protagonist who is a problem-solver in some area, it is difficult to get noticed among all those people who just produce noise and confusion by launching a lot of empty projects and burning the public money just to “raise awareness about a problem.” But sooner or later, you will make it through especially if you find some soulmates and build a mastermind group together with some other protagonists.

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Please cite as:

Bielczyk, N. (2020, May 1st). The jobs of the future. Retrieved from

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If you would like to read more about careers (for PhDs and other white-collar professionals) and effective strategies to self-navigate in the job market, please also take a look at the blog of my company, Welcome Solutions where I write posts dedicated to these topics.

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