Imagine being at a networking event online – you only know one person out of the 25 faces now staring at you.

The host then looks directly at you and says “Hey! Lovely to meet you – please introduce yourself to everyone.”

You swallow spit and pretend to be super calm about what’s about to happen next…

Blink once if you’re one of the people who have a high chance of responding with “I’m [insert name] and I’m a [insert job title] at [insert company name].” Right!?

I’ve done this so many times and watched so many people do it too.

Now it’s not wrong, but…

Truth is we literally reduce ourselves (who we are in totality) to our job titles.
Is that truly all we are? Absolutely not!

In 2017, the Institute for the Future, in collaboration with Dell Technologies published a report stating that 85% of the jobs that will exist in 2030 don’t yet exist (back in 2017).

I often push back at this piece of research even though I understand the sentiment, because I believe it scares many of us into the “that means Accountants like me won’t have jobs in 2030!! *screams*” mentality.

Not at all. When excel spreadsheets came to town, accountants were made to believe this then too, but here’s the key:

As long as you show up at a networking event and call yourself an [Accountant] – then yes, you have real reason to be nervous. Here’s why:

There are two things that are limiting us from seeing our Careers as fluid in this new world of work:

  1. Our titles – what you tell people you do or the ‘box’ you put yourself in.
  2. Your function – the ‘work’ or activities you perform when you work.

To go back to the Institute for the Future research sited above, if I having been a Primary School Educator in 2017 said to myself “I’m a Primary School Educator” (which I sometimes did, by the way), I would have never been able to open myself to opportunities such as Coaching, Mentorship, Facilitation of strategy conversations etc. that I successfully do now.

This would’ve been because I had put myself in the ‘job title’ box.

What I instead chose to do was look at the value that I add to the ‘marketplace’ or ‘team’ or even ‘the world’ as a facilitator of learning and conversations that are the catalyst for expansion.

That meant that in 2030 when facilitating educational and impactful conversations and holding space for humans to grow, learn and expand looks nothing like it did in 2017 – I could show up for it as the same person – Zanele Njapha.

So, here’s the challenge I’d like to present to you:

Next time, someone asks you to tell them what you do, scrap the old “I’m [insert name] and I’m a [insert job title] at [insert company name].”

Instead, try “Hi, I’m [insert name] and I help [insert client or market you serve] to [insert thing you help people to do and achieve] so that [insert the value or result people get from your profound contribution to the company].”

Here’s my example to help you:

“Hi, I’m [Zanele Njapha, The UnLearning Lady] and I help [growing organisations and young ambitious career women] to [get unstuck & transition confidently into who they know they can be] so that [they can save time, money and make their mark on the world].”

Got it?

Good luck!

If you’re thinking about a Career Transition and want to set up your future-fit Career Strategy for 2022, check out my course ‘Transition with Confidence’ that has helped many Career Movers change the script on who they are, what they do and the value they add to this world!

 About the author of today’s Tuesday Tip – Zanele Njapha

In the face of disruptive change, Zanele, author of today’s Tuesday Tip, assists organizations to become future fit: adaptable, resilient, innovative, proactive and confident through helping them crack the unlearning code.

She does this by facilitating the understanding that learning, unlearning and relearning must be the crux and heart of an organisation’s DNA if they are serious about being future-fit.

    TomorrowToday Global