The Future of Work: From Anxiety to Adventure by Carla Cuglietta

A question was keeping me up at night….

How do we help prepare teens for their future when we no longer know what that future looks like? 

It may be helpful to know a little bit more about me.  Over the last 20 years, I’ve helped prepare 30,000 students, executives, and communities all over the world navigate their future. The problem was, I no longer knew what the future looked like.

I saw a shift from students that used to be excited to graduate and head into their careers, to students feeling like the thought of graduation causes confusion and stress, often with good reason. 

Concerns and anxieties about the future of work stemmed from feeling pressure from too many study and career options, not being able to find a job aligns with their values, potential changes in the job market because of AI, the list goes on. Careers are now changing so fast that it is likely a job you had in mind as you go into post-secondary, may look very different or be gone altogether when you come out.  Yikes! 

So, what does one do if you lead an organization that helps young people prepare for their future, when you no longer know what it looks like?  Well, I needed to do my level-best to understand it better. 

In May of 2018, the research began. I went on an 18-month intensive research project around the world to better understand what is coming in the world of work. The discoveries were surprising.  

Instead of coming back with a clear answer, I came to the solid conclusion: no one knows what work will look like in 20 years. With factors like AI, Chat GPT, geo-political relationships shifting, automation, work from home, (just to name a few), it’s almost impossible to predict. Anyone who says they know…may be trying to sell you something ☺.

What I DID come back with, was clarity around the questions that young people will need to answer for themselves, despite what the job market looks like. I came back with the understanding that in the decades to come, we will all need to find a way to stay engaged, relevant and healthy in our careers.  So, even though we don’t know what the future will look like, we can still help students prepare for whatever comes by helping them focus on 4 C’s: creativity, critical thinking, courage, and commitment.  

  • Creativity- Can we see how our skills might fill a need in the community or job market? 
  • Critical Thinking- Can we determine how to navigate different information and situations? 
  • Courage- Do we have the courage to make decisions about changing paths when we need to, and can we get over fear of uncertainty? 
  • Commitment – Can we commit to good habits to keep us healthy? Can we commit to life-long learning to ensure we stay relevant as our work continues to evolve through AI? 

We need to change our mindset from needing the right answers about what the future of work will look like, to asking the right questions.  If we do, we may find that our feelings of uncertainty and anxiety about the future can turn into feelings excitement and adventure.

To learn more or book Carla for a presentation, check out her speaking page here.