The Future is in the Ability to be Flexible

With college graduation coming up soon, students are currently in a panic over what will happen after graduation. Will we end up with our dream job, a service job, an assistant job, a job we never even thought we wanted, or worse, no job? I recently saw a graphic that showed where a percentage of students leaving college with a degree in communications similar to me ended up in the world. And not to much surprise, many did not end up on the exact path expected. There are so many directions to take in life, which path does one choose, or even better, which one comes about. Either way, I am leaving college without the expectation to do exactly what I expect to be doing. All I believe I can do is prepare myself best for a variety of positions in the creative industry. The creative industry is vast, but also gigantic. There are millions of different jobs doing different things.

Image result for creative industry

In an article by Daniel Ashton made clear that many employers are in agreement that college students simply are not ready for the industry. Whatever technical skill they think they have, they are simply not ready. This means that those soft, practical skills are the key. If graduates aren’t ready to take charge and build the next Google, maybe they are ready to learn and be flexible. With that said, college graduates need to focus on the other important skills such as critical thinking, flexibility, ethical awareness, problem-solving, communication, and collaboration. These terms are not defined to one job, but rather makes you versatile to learn under any circumstance. Going back to the data set I saw, it showed that recent grads moved to different jobs and industries every time they transitioned. They may have started on the radio and ended up in marketing within their first three jobs.

“A working environment in a state of flux needs co-workers who do not perceive changes in their environment as a threat, but respond to them with flexibility. This includes the willingness to work in fields outside of the original training occupation or even outside of the Creative Industries” (Haukka, 2011)

I agree with many of the people surveyed by Ester van Laar, Alexander J.A.M van Deursen, Jan A.G.M van Dijik, and Jos de Haan that technical skills are widely important. It is very important to know all aspects of anything you create for proper implementation. But with how fast innovation moves and the many places a person can work, it is those soft skills that make it easier to transition. However, if what Mietzner and Kamprath say is true, then a technical skill does not make you as versatile to cross industries as many of the soft skills. If you look at the survey many of the responses change depending on the employer interviewed.

“Collaboration skills were viewed as important, as creative work is complex and multidisciplinary, and professionals must work together to ensure results.”

“The results show that technical skills were most often cited as skills to take into consideration.”

“Entrepreneurship was viewed as a meaningful skill”(van Laar, J.A.M van Deursen, A.G.M van Dijik, de Haan 4.1)

A single person can absolutely have all of these but through time and experience. For a recent college graduate, understanding your value beyond the semi-ready technical skills you have will get you the job. I spoke to an employer at Colombia University, who said that she is not looking for the best videographer or editor for her team. Rather, she is looking for somebody that is trainable and can work along with the team, while also being able to pull their own weight. The technical skills are more of a bonus. The ability to learn and work well in a team comes first, the technical skills come second.

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