Having the words future and career together may seem daunting each time you read them. This is because we as humans are hard-wired to avoid uncertainty. And now more than ever, we can see how much uncertainty can have an influence on the way we make our decisions as well as our levels of stress.

A team of researchers ran an experiment on the relationship between uncertainty and stress, and it is one of the most sophisticated and precise experiments on that topic.

In this experiment, the volunteers played a computer game. They each were required to overturn rocks that may contain snakes under them. If a snake appeared, they would feel a painful electric shock. Clearly, the volunteers were quite motivated to figure out which rocks had snakes under them.

The researchers tracked stress through several physiological measures, including skin conductance (sweatiness of the skin) and pupil dilation. But they also asked their participants to report on how stressed they were feeling at different points of time.

The main conclusion was that all measures of stress were at a maximum when uncertainty was at its highest. Meaning when they were at 50% predictability, they had absolutely no clue whether they were about to get shocked, and you can guess what happened then… Their stress climaxed.

Beating the uncertainty

“How confident do you feel about succeeding in your future career?”

YouthSpeak Survey 2020

Saying that we should be certain about things seems easy but in reality, it is easier said than done. In the time of the coronavirus pandemic, uncertainty is a recurring theme and what you want may change for some people. Decision-making is not an easy task during a global pandemic. It is not an easy task when the future is not known. The best you can do now is reflect and define things within yourself that you are sure about.

Success has a different definition for each person and here are answers from a few business leaders:

“Success is helping others develop into leaders who can change the world.

Michael Roberto, Professor Bryant University, Author Know What You Don’t Know

“Success is being able to support my family in something I love doing.

Barry Moltz, Author, Speaker

“Success means the accomplishment of your self defined goals. Once you feel that you have accomplished them, you have succeeded.”

Ben Lang Founder

But what we can all agree on is that being successful in your career is not about providing the bare minimum of your job description, it is about transforming your position or business into something unique!

Before you decide on how you can create future success, you must decide for yourself what it means for you. To do that, you need to know yourself. By knowing yourself that means you know your values, your strengths, your weaknesses, your hopes but most importantly you know what sets your soul on fire. All this falls under self-awareness. One of the qualities we develop in leaders at AIESEC.

But you say you know yourself, what now?

Tips for your future career

Tip 1: Keep on learning

One major attribute of successful individuals is their constant desire to feed their minds, their inability to stay still, and their hunger for more. When you learn, this means you have the capacity to adapt to change and it gives you longevity in your career.

So no matter your field or job, more often than not the accelerating pace of disruption of world of work is changing the skills that employers need and shortening the shelf-life of employees’ existing skill sets in the process, this is according to a study by the World Economic Forum (WEF) on The Future of Jobs.

Tip 2: Always seek feedback

Everyone heard of the saying: Feedback is a powerful tool.

Feedback gives you direction. It tells you when and where you are making good progress and highlights where you need to make some adjustments or resolve some issues. So make it a habit of asking for feedback and go in-depth with asking questions and understanding how you need to go forward from here. Make the most out of it!

Tip 3: Take full responsibility for your life

This makes a big difference with people who excel and those who do not. This may seem too apparent but is not always applied on a constant basis.

Take responsibility for your actions and never blame mishaps on someone else. Recognizing your own mistakes and owning up to them is one of the key steps to leading a successful career.

Be careful of your thoughts, about yourself and others. Most importantly, be careful of your actions.

Share your thoughts

Here at AIESEC, we are challenging youth to #SpeakUp with AIESEC and join the discussion table! Share with us your opinions on the challenges we are facing as well as our hopes as a generation so we can map out together how we will achieve the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.

Let’s hear you over at the YouthSpeak Survey created to hear what YOU have to say because the world of work is changing and #YouthOpinionMatters!

12