I’m going to tell you two stories of two different people about a week in their life in the year 2020.

The year figure may look like from a science fiction movie but it’s actually only 6 years in the future from now.

 

A Work Week in Carla’s Life in 2020

It’s 7am, Monday morning and the alarm clock is ringing. Carla looks at the clock and can’t believe it’s Monday all over again. She desperately wishes the weekend back.

It takes her 30 more minutes to finally get out of bed and walk half-asleep to the bathroom to take a shower that she hopes will wake her up.

At 7:53am, she realizes that she has exactly 3 more minutes to drink the boiling hot coffee on her kitchen table. After two attempts of sipping at the coffee cup and burning her mouth she silently curses Mondays, gets dressed and rushes to her car.

Because it’s snowing outside, there is a huge traffic jam and the normal 20 minute trip to work takes her an hour. She listens to the morning show in the radio and all the bad news make her hate Mondays even more.

It’s now 9am and she is finally at work. She can feel the eyeballs from her peers watching her when she walks into the office as the last person today. All she can think about is 5pm, when this damn day is finally over.

Carla is generally a very nice person and loves having fun. The problem is that she tends to have two kinds of days at work, bad days and really bad days.

Carla is working at a large corporation in the financial industry. She earns a good living and has some nice benefits. However, she feels far from fulfilled at work and therefore also not entirely happy with her overall life.

Because Carla’s husband got a new job in a town 2000km away from where they used to live, she had to look for a new job in the new town.

It took her almost 3 months to get this job that she does not really enjoy. She feels like a number in a big, meaningless game that the corporation is playing. 

Years ago, she felt like she had strong values that she wanted to protect and align her work with, but now they are buried deep down somewhere and she can’t seem to find them anymore.

Carla recently saw an ad for an MBA study. She talked to some friends and they told her that she definitely needs an MBA if she wants to raise to the top of the company to earn a great living, so she decides to enroll and pursue to climb “Mount Corporate Career” since it’s the only way she sees out of her unfulfilling job.

The week did not start particularly well for Carla with the snow storm and her desire to end Monday as fast as possible. It keeps getting worse since her boss “delegated” most of the paperwork and reports for a new global project to her. 

When she joined the company, her boss assured her that she will be doing important things, lead big projects and engage in creative work. What she realized very quickly was that she is now spending most of her days in corporate meetings and filling in reports that nobody reads. 

Another thing that scares her is the recent news that the corporation has “un-hired” 500 people from their jobs.

Carla feels like the work she is doing has no real impact and that there is no way out.

Or is there?

 

A Work Week in Monica’s Life in 2020

It’s 7am, Monday morning and Monica is sitting at the kitchen table, having breakfast with her daughter. She loves the taste of freshly brewed coffee while screening through the latest blog posts and watching a TED talk from people she admires.

Monica and her family have just relocated to a new place 2000km away from her old home because her husband started working with a new company here. Many things are fairly new to her, except for her work environment.

Monica is part of a breed of people who Daniel Pink calls “Free Agents” in his book Free Agent Nation. She does not have a conventional job but more of a location independent career.

The change of location has not affected Monica’s career at all. She is helping technology startups grow and expand their business.

20 years ago, she may have been employed by one company and worked in a corporate office every day. However, her situation looks a little different.

She is working with 3 different technology startups, one in Switzerland, one in New York and one in Singapore. It’s not always easy because of the time difference but she organizes her week in a way that fits in with her lifestyle and gives her space to spend time with her family and to do lots of sports.

That would have been very difficult in her old corporate job because it was common to spend 8-12 hours in an office plus commute 1 hour per day back and forth.

It was almost a culture to stay in the office as long as possible instead of doing things effectively and efficiently so you could spend more time with your family.

At 8am, she leaves the house, kisses her husband goodbye and drives her daughter to school. 

Around 9am, Monica arrives at the co-working space where she spends 2-3 days a week if she is in town. The people who work there are very similar to Monica. They do different kinds of things that they call their work but at the core, they have a similar work- and lifestyle like Monica.

Today is an important day because one of her clients, the startup in New York, launches a new software application. Monica and the team at the startup have prepared everything over the past weeks, she even flew to New York twice to see the team face to face for major decisions. 

It’s also financially an important day for her because she usually holds equity from most startups she works with, so the launch can also add significantly to her bottom line.

Around 4pm, she packs things together and picks up her daughter from school to drive home and cook dinner.

After dinner, she checks her calendar to get an overview what the rest of the week looks like.

On Tuesday, she starts working at 6am because she has a conference call with the startup team from New York to see how the launch went and finishes late because of a virtual meeting with an important client and the owner of the startup from Singapore. She will work from home tomorrow because it’s more convenient to have conference calls in the quiet home office.

On Wednesday, she starts the day off at Yoga with some friends, breakfast in the city with an old school friend and then going for a run before she is immersing herself into writing for her blog. She loves doing sports before activities that require a high level of creativity.

Thursday and Friday, she will be back at the co-working space and have lunch with two people who also regularly work there.

 

What Do You Want Your Career in 2020 to Look Like?

What are you doing today to advance your career to match the needs of a very different future compared to the past? What are you doing today to live a fulfilling and great live in 2020 or much sooner? 

Which one of the above stories are you going to tell your grandkids when you are turning 80 years old?

It’s clear that the future will not look like the past, it never has. Too many revolutions have caused major changes in the way we buy, communicate and work. 

Don’t take my prediction of the future as perfect but also don’t complain when it’s finally here.

Which story above sounds more appealing to you? 

If you want to move as far away as possible from Carla’s situation and embrace at least some parts of Monica’s work week, join me on 22nd February in Zurich for “Master Your Career”.

 

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