We’re told that we need to be specific about our future. We are told from an early age, that we need to consider the path that we wish to follow in life, and the job that we wish to possess.
My entire teenage- and adult life, I have jumped from one industry to another, one job to another, one city to another and one apartment to another – the only thing that stayed the same was friendships and family (THANK GOD!). I always thought that I just hadn’t found my path yet, but being at the end of my Master’s Degree, I now begin to realise that maybe it’s not about choosing only ONE path. I’ve enjoyed and learned from every single one of my jobs, and not only have they added to my experience and knowledge, but they’ve helped me look at the world from different perspectives, and most importantly; The skills I learned by working in corporate environments, I could apply to creative industries and vice versa.
Corporate strategist, author and record producer, Kabir Sehgal recently wrote an article in Harvard Business Review, arguing that having two (or more, in his case) jobs could actually be beneficial, which I found quite interesting; “When you work different jobs, you can identify where ideas interact — and more significantly, where they should interact. “It’s technology married with liberal arts, married with the humanities, that yields us the result that makes our heart sing,” said Steve Jobs, who was the embodiment of interdisciplinary thinking.” (Sehgal, 2017).
The complexity in this situation is that we are ‘required’ by the educational system to choose a path quite early – in Denmark already when entering high school – but as innovation and creativity becomes necessary assets for companies to evolve and survive, we are also encouraged as future employees to engage in interdisciplinary activities, and to reach out to people who are not in our immediate professional network. “By being in different circles, you can selectively introduce people who would typically never meet and unlock value for everyone.” (Sehgal, 2017). But why are multiple paths then not encouraged the same way that choosing one path is?
My course does focus on being specific having to choose an industry, but at the same time it opens up to interdisciplinary interactions with people from a variety of backgrounds – both culturally and professionally, and I have learned so much from just being around them, and observing how they solve a problem, ask questions, present themselves, think and communicate, and I am very grateful for that. My MA experience had been completely different had I been with people who only had experience with either Design-Thinking or Graphic Design. Music or Sales. Marketing or Advertising. In this case, I get to interact and understand people with all of these different skills and interests.
The demand for what we as future employees should be able to do is constantly changing, and are gravitating towards a more multi-disciplinary skillset. (For elaboration on that, I suggest you read my fellow student’s blogpost on the “10 skills you need to thrive in the forth industrial revolution”).
I’m not arguing that everyone should have multiple jobs, or even multiple interest – that is an individual choice, but are we putting too much emphasis on being specific? I know that many companies would argue that doing several jobs might take some of the focus away from them, but what if it added important value as well?
Essentially, for me it’s a quite simple equation; Doing different unrelated things makes me happier than only focusing on one thing, so hopefully I’ll still be able to do that in the future.
Sehgal, K. (2017). Why You Should Have (at Least) Two Careers. [online] Harvard Business Review. Available at: https://hbr.org/2017/04/why-you-should-have-at-least-two-careers [Accessed 26 Apr. 2017].