Someone recently posted the above diagram on LinkedIn, with the caption ‘I like this. I have seen it and it is possible’.
Yes, much of the progress we have made is beneficial professionally. ‘The world is your oyster’ seems to never have been truer than in today’s society. In truth, I have yet to read the book that is the source of this image, and perhaps it tackles the issues I found when reviewing this diagram.
That said, the combination of technological advancement and the current state of the labour market is such that the ‘ability to work anytime’ translates as an expectation to be available 24/7. Similarly, the ability to work anywhere has increased firm flexibility, but it also leads to employees being contacted when they’re away on holiday.
The ability to work off of ‘any device’ does not mean we ought to use our own personal devices as this blurs the line between our personal and professional lives. In that case, you can forget a positive work-life balance!
The potential to ‘create your own ladder’, i.e. the idea that anyone could become an entrepreneur and set up shop, and the idea that anyone can become a leader are both fundamentally flawed. If someone has done their research, has learned of the risks involved and is ready to put in the hard work, the fact that it is easier than ever to set up a new business is great! If you have the skills and experience to lead a team, go for it! But not everyone is made to be a leader. Some of us are better as followers.
Not to be pessimistic, but there are two sides to every coin. Just because we are able to work harder and for longer, does not mean we should. Let’s use the tools and methods now available to us to strive for working ‘better’ and ‘smarter’!