My Job is Killing Me, but Who Am I Without It?

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September has seen me travelling to Denmark, Sicily and Czech Republic – a mixture of holiday and workshops. (I can’t tell the difference any more!) So this is my first musing for a while.

I’ve been coaching several people recently who have come to me because they live in a state of chronic stress through:

• Their thinking about their jobs, and how much they have to do
• Their thinking about themselves – often a variation of “not good enough”
• Their thinking about what will happen if they lose their job (in their minds, it will be “the end of the world”)

These people are not “losers”. They would be seen by most of us as highly successful individuals. Their day to day experience of a “stressful life” would even be seen as ‘normal’ by most people.

My work with them is hardly ever about supporting them into a different job. The stress isn’t coming from the job – although it certainly looks that way sometimes. My work with them is pointing them towards an understanding of how to truly thrive – regardless of circumstances.

You can also listen here to conversations with some of my clients who were previously “successful but not really thriving” – and who have now insightfully seen some very profound things about the human experience.

In parallel with these conversations, a few other things have come together for me and inspired this week’s Heart of Thriving blog.

Firstly, I read the World Economic Forum “Future of Jobs” Report 2018. Executive Summary: By 2025, 50% of the tasks currently performed by humans will be done by machines.

You can read the report here:

Secondly, I read Andrew Yang’s book “The War on Normal People”. Yang is a 2020 Presidential Candidate in the US, and he’s running on a platform of introducing UBI (Universal Basic Income). His analysis suggests that 1 in 3 of all jobs will disappear in the next 12 years.

Find out more about UBI here:

What is UBI?

Andrew Yang makes the case for UBI as an essential step toward a new, more durable kind of economy, one that puts humans first.

Unlike previous technological advances, the job losses that are coming will not be limited to unskilled workers, although those will be affected too. (You don’t need truck drivers when you have self-driving trucks).

Artificial Intelligence means that professional tasks that previously required a university level education will also change dramatically. AI is already better than most doctors at diagnosing patients and coming up with a treatment plan. A lot of surgical interventions will be carried out by AI.

Most financial analysis is already carried out by computers. Roles involving reasoning and decision-making, information search, information collation.

Manufacturing is going to entirely transform into something else as 3D printing becomes more mainstream.

Watch this little video about the first 3D-printed car in mass-production:

Think about your job if you have one. Think about the jobs held by your family and friends. Hardly any job will look the same twenty, or even ten years from now.

I don’t say any of this to scare you. I actually think it’s good news. Maybe we will finally sever the link between our jobs and our identities and well-being. My hope is that this technological revolution will be matched by an acceleration of human and spiritual evolution.

As people live longer, there will be a greater need for ‘workers who care for others’.

Accompanying these roles is a growing need for so-called ‘soft’ skills like Leadership, Innovation, Creativity, Emotional Intelligence and so on.

New jobs will also be created of course. There will be a growing emphasis on more human-centred roles, both in business organisations, and also in wider society.

We will begin to create ways of making a contribution to the world that we haven’t even thought of yet!

All of these emanate from a more intuitive (human) part of our selves, as opposed to the cognitive and rational (machine-like) part of ourselves.

The fantastic news about all the skills/qualities that will become ever more paramount as we face this future is that THEY ARE ALL INNATE. We already have them built in to the system – but for the interference of our personal, insecure thinking.

Here are some examples:

Resilience: Ever seen a 2-year old bounce out of a tantrum? They don’t need to do anything in their minds (talk it through or analyse it) in order to get back to their innate well-being, clarity and calm.

Creativity: Have you noticed how your best ideas come when you are NOT thinking about them? Maybe while you’re going for a walk or in the shower?

Connection: Have you experienced meeting a stranger on a plane or train and feeling like you really connected instantly? Or that natural smile to the person bringing you coffee? These are simply the natural and pleasant result of an absence of personal thinking and judgement. When we don’t have a lot on our minds, connecting with other humans is the most natural thing in the world.

I think it’s good news because this technological revolution will speed up a paradigm shift in our culture. Where we see our well-being as innate. Where we understand that our OK-ness and security never came from our job in the first place. Where we increasingly understand the ‘inside-out’ nature of the human mind.

With this understanding, comes a realisation of the innate qualities humanity will increasingly need as machines do more of our work.

William James, who is regarded as the father of modern psychology, once wrote that the field of psychology had no true principles. He said:

“…if such principles were ever realised on a large scale, it would make the importance of every human advancement since fire pale in comparison.”

These principles are here, now. For me, the future looks full of hope. How does it look to you?

If you’d like to discover this transformative understanding for yourself, my next 3-day Heart of Thriving workshop is the ideal place to begin. Three days of joyful, connected, discovery about what it takes to truly thrive! The dates are 26 – 28 October in Hertfordshire. Contact me for a no-obligation conversation.

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