I enjoyed the exciting opportunity of speaking to the Career Development classes at Northwood University in Cedar Hills, Texas, this week. These juniors and seniors are part of the unique and amazing Millennial generation and, like other Millennials I’ve talked to, these young people are ready to shake up the business world.
Sadly, I may have disappointed some of these students. As they earn their business degrees and launch into the worlds of sports marketing, fashion design, communications, and other industries, I told them they will always be in school. Better said, they must remain learners. Lifelong learners.
It’s no secret the world is changing. Some of today’s jobs weren’t imagined just a few years ago. And some of tomorrow’s problems will be addressed using technologies we’re developing today. So how can Millennials, in fact all workers, find and enjoy career success? By being a continuous learner.
A report by the Institute for the Future for the University of Phoenix Research Institute said it this way:
“To be successful in the next decade, individuals will need to demonstrate
foresight in navigating a rapidly shifting landscape of organizational forms
and skill requirements. They will increasingly be called upon to continually
reassess the skills they need, and quickly put together the right resources
to develop and update these. Workers in the future will need to be adaptable
Being a continuous learner is not only good for your career but also good for your health. Ron Shaich, Founder and CEO at Panera Bread, commented that being a lifelong learner has helped him avoid burnout and chronic fatigue. Yes, he gets tired as he experiences eighty-hour workweeks and numerous red-eye flights. However, he never feels the need to recharge because he never gets tired of his work. Shaich commented:
". . . I view my work as a lifelong learning journey. I go to work to learn about
how the world works. How humanity works. And what will work in the world."
Just as I challenged the Northwood University students to become lifelong learners, if you’re reading this post, I challenge you as well. You have nothing to lose and lots to gain!
So thanks, Northwood, for the opportunity to speak this week. I look forward to experiencing the cars you will design, the fashion trends you will start, the sports stars you will represent, and all of your other upcoming accomplishments.
Darren K. Ford
I've enjoyed a great career. Worked in many different industries with great coworkers and customers. I talk to a lot of people while drinking a lot of coffee. I read constantly. From all of this, I have much to say.