Why BREXIT Should Matter to You
On Friday morning, June 24th, 2016, U.S. investors awakened to the shock that the U.K. decided to exit the European Union, which has been dubbed “BREXIT.” While the near term financial impact is obvious - global stock markets plunged (but then bounced back), the longer term impact is difficult to predict. I will not bother dwelling on the drag this will be on global growth for the next several years though I would caution against getting caught up by the media’s attempt to parlay this into a riveting financial panic - which it does not appear to be; this is a relative hiccup compared to the financial meltdown in ‘08. However, I will focus on some profound implications for the aspiring entrepreneurs, engineers and makers who comprise the Collaborizm community.
Perhaps the most important lesson to be learned from BREXIT for young professionals is that life is full of uncertainty and commonly held views are sometimes just plain wrong. You can’t manage your career aspirations assuming the status quo will prevail; you need to do just the opposite - assume that change is inevitable and disruption is not limited to Uber and Airbnb… you yourself can get disrupted if you aren’t prepared to deal with dramatic change. So how do you prepare for unpredictability and even occasional chaos in your life and in your career?
The obvious answer is you should continue to expand your skills and focus on developing proficiencies that employers particularly value these days - e.g., the ability to identify and solve complex problems, which many of you already are equipped to do, but it is imperative that you continue to expand your scope of knowledge and prove the full extent of your credentials. The best way to do that is to take advantage of online courses to address your knowledge gaps. That brings us to the single most important implication of the era of unprecedented uncertainty and rapid technological change in which we now all find ourselves.
The importance of networking, whether it be by attending meetups, or joining local organizations that interest you whether they be philanthropic or focused on enhancing your career opportunities, has become infinitely more important these days. Microsoft just acknowledged that point by paying $26.2 billion for Linkedin, as it tries to connect its enterprise software, i.e., Windows, to the modern workforce. The most efficient way to network is by collaborating with other people, online, because you can choose to do it as it suits your schedule and networking is greatly enhanced by working on something together - it sure beats shaking a couple of strangers’ hands at a physical meetup event. Pursue online collaboration opportunities where you can meet interesting, bright and motivated strangers who are as eager as you to meet new people and learn from each other, and where the platform will help you evidence some of your talents that are not effectively captured by your resume or Linkedin profile.
With a strong network and a diverse range of skills which you have proven and have evidence of not only on your resume but also in your online collaborative endeavors, you can take BREXIT and other inevitable disruptions whether they are foreseeable or not, in stride; you can actually benefit from such dislocations because your problem solving abilities will be in even greater demand.
Oh, and by the way, the impact of BREXIT is far from over, despite the fact that global markets dramatically rallied back after initially plunging. This morning global markets are selling off hard again, with the british pound sterling back to historical lows and commodities under pressure.