Whether you are talking about the 15th or 19th or 20th century worker the role of a worker in society is to use his/her skills to produce goods and/or services to meet needs in his/her community. Each century however, changes how and what the worker produces. Before the 1st industrial revolution the worker used his hands or the animal power to produce crops and livestock. When the industrial revolution came the worker used machines to produce goods (cars, soaps, furniture…) The introduction of machines dramatically changed how much we produced and how long it took to produce it. Thus becoming a major factor in the progress that we have achieved in our world today. In this article we give particular attention to the 21st century because unlike those centuries before it, the methods of production are rapidly changing at a pace never before experienced, therefore upsetting the structure and nature of the work environment and of work itself. Given this rapid change in the work environment, the worker of the 21st century cannot continue to do things the old way and expect to be successful in this new work environment. He/she needs to develop new ways of defining and approaching work in order to stay competitive in the modern job market. I have shared 6 traits that the modern worker needs to have in order to be successful in this high speed and fast changing work environment of the 21st century:
Autonomy: In order to be successful in the 21st century work environment workers need to be comfortable working independently as they are expected to have high levels of proficiency in their field of expertise. Generalists have no place in the 21st century’s workforce. What one knows, he/she must know it very well and establish him or herself as an authority in that field. As for professional development, workers are responsible for their own professional development. It is therefore be very important for workers to continue sharpening their saw in order for them to stay in the game. Workers need to look for courses, conferences, seminars, and other training programs to help them stay up to date in their field.
Flexibility: This environment has a lot of unpredictable. Workers need to be very flexible to new changes, be willing to incorporate them in their practices, while looking to stay ahead of the market trends.
Confidence: The 21st century workplace is a tough environment for people who rely on the approval of a supervisor to feel that they are doing a good job. Workers in this environment need to believe in their abilities and trust that they can get things done regardless of what people think and/or say.
Integrity: With autonomy and flexibility comes high levels of accountability and scrutiny. Due to the fact that employers do not have direct control of the workers daily work, they focus their investment in developing tools that can catch shortcuts easily and quickly. Those with high levels of integrity will survive while those with questionable integrity will lose opportunities in the workplace.
Desire to Innovate: The faster workers are at obtaining new information, analyzing it, and adapting it to current realities will determine the degree of their success.
Ability to think fast: Since change happens fast, the worker needs to think even faster, otherwise he will produce products that are no longer needed.