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    Entries in Jobs (28)


    Job Titles of the Future #9 - Chocolate Foresight Activator

    I caught this Job Title of the Future from a recent piece on The Atlantic, describing the Hershey Company's quest to find, what the Atlantic called a 'Chocolate Futurist', or what Hershey refers to in their still-posted job ad, a 'Senior Manager, Foresight Activation.'

    I think The Atlantic wins points for the jazzier job title.

    Just what does a 'Chocolate Futurist/Foresight Activator' have to do?

    Straight from the Hershey job listing:

    Supports the activation of existing foresight (trends, forecasts, scenarios) into strategic opportunities (SOs) and platforms with commercial value for Hershey, mining existing foresight content for highest potential business impact opportunities or threats.  Performs ongoing monitoring of the external environment for new insights and trends approaching tipping points.  Partners with external agencies to identify new trends that can inform and accelerate foresight activation.  Collaborates with Corporate Strategy, R&D, Global Knowledge & Insights and Silicon Valley Advance Team as well as other business and functional teams to flesh out opportunity assessment and business case.  Shapes new initiatives in the front of funnel and drives to successful completion through Gates A, B and C.

    What kind of background or education do you need in order to activate foresight and drive to successful completion through Gates A, B, and C, (what the heck does that even mean, btw?)

    Education: MBA in Marketing or Masters in related field required

    Experience: Minimum of 8+ year’s relevant experience.  Multi-disciplinary background (Marketing, Corporate Strategy, R&D, Management Consulting).   User design or consulting experience a plus.  Solid front-end innovation capability including the identification of insights and translation to business growth strategy.

    Experience with a major innovation consultancy (i.e. What If? IDEO, Doblin, Innosight, Prophet, Jump Associates, Eureka Ranch, New & Improved) supporting multiple clients to accomplish the same.

    Progression of successful accomplishments in identification and commercialization of new business opportunities. Experience with a top-tier consumer packaged goods company preferred.  International and technical experience desirable but not required

    So, in order to 'activate foresight' it probably would help if you had a solid, cross-functional background, had a fair bit of customer-facing experience, and new something about product development and management.

    But, at least according to the posting copy, in order to be qualified to be a Chocolate Futurist/Foresight Activator, you don't necessarily have to know anything much about chocolate. In fact the word chocolate doesn't show up anywhere in the listing.

    Which in a way is kind of cool. The future might not be all that chocolat-y, who knows?

    Maybe the foresight activator for a chocolate company should be someone that doesn't view the world through cocoa-tinted lenses.

    Maybe Hershey is actually showing some foresight themselves in looking outside their normal frames of reference to find someone to help them 'form presentations that create a tangible vision of what the future might look like that business partners can grasp.'

    Sounds like a cool gig. And one that earns official SFB designation as a 'Job Title of the Future.'


    Job Titles of the Future #8 - 20 Jobs to Pick From

    My friend Raluca shared the below Slideshare presentation with me, a really fun look at a topic that I have also had some fun with here on the blog, of course I am talking about Job Titles of the Future.

    In the presentation, (embedded below, Email and RSS subscribers may need to click through), the folks at advertising and marketing firm Sparks and Honey offer up their take on how trends in technology and society are conspiring to create a new set of opportunities, i.e., jobs of the future that don't exist right now.

    Take a look through the slides and I will have a couple of comments after the jump:


    Pretty cool, right?

    Of the 20 jobs of the future I think my top choices for most interesting and/or most likely to pan out in some kind of material way have to be 'Corporate Disorganizer', (a kind of nod to all the hubbub going on about the Holacracy stuff), 'Alternative Currency Speculator', (any time a new market forms there are always going to be speculators. And I love the movie 'Trading Places.'), and also 'Digital Death Manager', (a little macabre but I think on the money. Just what does happen to your Facebook or Twitter accounts if you pass away?).

    Anyway, it is an interesting take with some ideas about what the future might hold. With the world of work changing every day, it pays to at least to attempt to stay on top of where the next year's and decade's opportunities are going to lie.

    Have a great weekend!


    More on the STEM talent shortage, or lack thereof

    Fall weekends are for two things, watching my beloved New York Football Jets display their unique brand of ineptitude on fields across America (big non-relevant aside: I am starting more and more to come down on the site of Malcolm Gladwell regarding football and its eventual and likely marginalization. The only football game, college or NFL, I watched all weekend was the Jets vs Bucs, and in that game alone in the first half, two Jets players wobbled off the field, pretty much incoherent from blows received to their helmets. Multiply that by hundreds of games, many played by little kids as young as 7 or 8 and try to count, you can't, the number of kids/teens/collegians/men who are absorbing ridiculous and repeated trauma to the head each weekend. I don't know. Most of think boxing is a crazy sport. But we are ok with football. Sorry, that was a long aside), and catching up on some longer reads from the week I did not have time to really review.

    The piece I'd like to call your attention to is titled 'The STEM Crisis is a Myth', an absolute takedown of the notion that currently the American economy is suffering, and will continue to suffer from a dearth of workers with the needed STEM skills to fill current and expected demand for them (or more precisely, the skills themselves). The author, Robert Charette, makes a compelling case that there is not, in fact, a STEM worker shortage. If anything, there is a surplus of STEM-capable workers, both from the amount of STEM graduates that are produced each year, and from the upwards of 11 million STEM-trained workers that for one reason or another, are not working currently in STEM roles.

    Chech the below chart from the piece to see where Charette is coming from:

    Do the math, (no pun intended), if you like, but when you break down the estimates of new STEM jobs being creating against the numbers of new graduates and existing STEM-educated workers it becomes harder and harder to make the 'shortage' case.

    Additionally, it might be in tech and other firms best interested to play up the shortage narrative.  Why?

    From the piece:

    Companies would rather not pay STEM professionals high salaries with lavish benefits, offer them training on the job, or guarantee them decades of stable employment. So having an oversupply of workers, whether domestically educated or imported, is to their benefit. It gives employers a larger pool from which they can pick the “best and the brightest,” and it helps keep wages in check. No less an authority than Alan Greenspan, former chairman of the Federal Reserve, said as much when in 2007 he advocated boosting the number of skilled immigrants entering the United States so as to “suppress” the wages of their U.S. counterparts, which he considered too high.

     And STEM wages are 'in check', check this nugget from the article:

    And over the past 30 years, according to the Georgetown report, engineers’ and engineering technicians’ wages have grown the least of all STEM wages and also more slowly than those in non-STEM fields; while STEM workers as a group have seen wages rise 33 percent and non-STEM workers’ wages rose by 23 percent, engineering salaries grew by just 18 percent. The situation is even more grim for those who get a Ph.D. in science, math, or engineering. The Georgetown study states it succinctly: “At the highest levels of educational attainment, STEM wages are not competitive.”

    It is a complex and even controversial subject, but in light of all the available data, it gets harder and harder to make the 'shortage' case, and in fact, it gets more dangerous if it perpetuates to the point where it serves to help create a real shortage in the future, as students decide to avoid these fields in the future.

    If you're interested at all in these issues, I encourage you to take a few minutes to read 'The STEM Crisis is a Myth', maybe bookmark it for new Saturday though!

    Have a great week!


    Time heals all wounds, just not fast enough if you've lost a job

    I caught a really interesting piece in the Wall St. Journal online recently titled After Divorce or Job Loss Comes the Good Identity Crisis, a look at some interesting research that examined just how long it takes the average person to get past, get over, and move forward from a dramatic life event such as a divorce or a job loss.

    We've all heard and perhaps even advised friends and colleagues that 'time heals all wounds', the key question for the wounded is often 'How much time?' John McLaughlin, Untitled, 1963

    Turns out it may be as long as two years for folks to get it back to 'normal' following a major life change.

    From the WSJ piece:

    Whether you've lost a job or a girlfriend, it won't take long before someone tells you, Dust yourself off. Time heals all wounds. Yes, but how much time?

    Experts say most people should give themselves a good two years to recover from an emotional trauma such as a breakup or the loss of a job. And if you were blindsided by the event—your spouse left abruptly, you were fired unexpectedly—it could take longer.

    That is more time than most people expect, says Prudence Gourguechon, a psychiatrist in Chicago and former president of the American Psychoanalytic Association. It's important to know roughly how long the emotional disruption will last.

    Once you get over the shock that it is going to be a long process, you can relax, Dr. Gourguechon says. "You don't have to feel pressure to be OK, because you're not OK."

    Oh, so don't feel pressure to be OK because you're not OK. Thanks Doc - that helps bunches if the traumatic life change involves the ending of a romantic relationship, where no one is going to force you to jump back into the dating scene before you are good and ready. Heck, maybe you never get back in the game. Sure, that kind of stinks, but again there are worse things that can happen. Like...

    Like having the traumatic event be the loss of a job, especially if it was a good job and if you didn't see the axe coming - whether it was a layoff or even a term for cause that you should have seen coming but were blind to what was about to happen.

    If the WSJ piece is right, and getting over the loss of a job might take up to two years to bounce back from, then that might be one of the reasons for the increased difficulty that many out of work job seekers have experiences in getting back to work in the last few years.

    In this recovery period after losing a job, people are likely to feel depressed, anxious, and distracted - just the kind of feelings and 'tells' that will pretty much destroy a job seeker in the interview process. No one wants to be the hiring manager that signs off on taking on board the guy who was an emotional wreck in the interview.

    Two years to get over a big loss, including a job.

    Important to try and remember when the guy across the interview table, who suddenly found himself on the job market unexpectedly, has only had two or three months to process everything that has been happening to him.

    He's tense, he might be getting depressed, and the pressure that is mounting on him at home is only getting more intense by the day.

    Hard to 'get over' the trauma of a job loss under any circumstances for sure. And probably almost impossible when with every day that passes without a new job that  the 'two year' time frame doesn't seem to get closer to ending, but rather just keeps moving into the distance.


    Job Titles of the Future #7 - Professional eSports Player

    Like lots of guys of a similar generation, I grew up playing sports, watching sports, talking about sports, etc. My Dad and my other adult male relatives were all big-time sports people as well - simply put, there was not a day of my youth through teenage years where sports in some fashion was not a part.

    Fast forward about, well let's just say several years, and while sports are still a big part of many American kids lives, (certainly girls sports are a much, much bigger thing today than when I was a kid), there are lots more and different ways modern kids can choose to spend their time, energy, and as we will see in a second, to feed their appetite for competition.

    And just like traditional sports like basketball and football have for many years offered at least the most talented and driven kids a pathway to fame and monetary gain, we are starting to see these newer forms of competition also present similar opportunities.  

    What am I getting at?

    Check an excerpt from a piece in the LA Times - Online game League of Legends star gets U.S. visa as pro athlete

    International stars in sports such as baseball, hockey and basketball have long been afforded special immigration status to play on U.S. teams. Think David Beckham, the former Los Angeles Galaxy soccer player from Britain, or Dodgers rookie phenom Hyun-Jin Ryu, a pitcher from South Korea.

    Now add Danny "Shiphtur" Le, of Edmonton, Canada, to the elite list.

    Le, an online gamer, is one of the world's top players of League of Legends, a virtual capture-the-flag game in which two teams of fantasy characters compete for a glowing orb. Le is so deft at racing down the virtual field and opening up gaps for teammates that he recently became the first so-called eSports player to be granted a type of visa normally awarded to athletes featured daily on ESPN.

    With a generation of children having grown up playing video games, the decision by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has been widely perceived as elevating America's newest professional sport to the same class as old-school stalwarts.

    And in a worldwide competition in which the winning team can take home $1 million in prizes, the ability to sign the best players — whether from Canada or South Korea or Russia — was seen as a must-have for U.S squads.

    Did you catch all that?

    A professional video gamer from Canada was granted a special type of visa, (probably a P1A), to live and compete in the USA with the rest of his elite team of gamers.

    I know you are thinking this is a kind of joke, or at least a once-in-a-blue-moon kind of occurrence. After all we are talking about video games, for gosh sakes. Not football, not baseball. Stupid video games.

    Except that I bet video games in general, and specifically League of Legends, the game in which Le and his team competes in, are a much, much bigger deal than you realize.

    How big?

    More from the LA Times:

    In the U.S. bracket of the championship series, eight teams compete against one another on Thursdays and Fridays at a West Los Angeles TV studio.

    The games are broadcast online and draw more than 1.7 million unique viewers. A typical National Hockey League game on the NBC Sports Network last season drew a quarter of that audience.

    Gaming industry analysts estimate that more than 32 million people worldwide play the game, about half of them in the U.S. The rest come from Europe and Asia. By those calculations, 1 in every 20 Americans plays League of Legends. That dwarfs baseball, from Little League to Major League Baseball.

    Like I mentioned at the top, I grew up playing traditional sports under the watchful eye of my Dad who also grew up playing those same sports. It would have fulfilled both our dreams had I become an NBA star. But alas, short, slow, and unable to jump very high (mostly) did me in.

    A new generation of kids is going to grow up playing games like League of Legends, under the watchful eyes of their Dads who also grew up playing League of Legends, (or World of Warcraft, or similar).

    And if those stats are accurate, or even close to it, that 1 in 20 Americans are playing League of Legends then there are going to be lots of career opportunities that will spring up from that ecosystem. Sure just like baseball and football there will be the select few like Danny Le that will become elite-level professionals, but there may also be a need for more event organizers, promotions, marketing, expert analyses, training courses, and on and on.

    Professional eSports Player, that has a pretty cool ring to it, and it makes the list as an official SFB 'Job Title of the Future.'