Career Pendulum Swinging Toward the Conceptual Age

Every renaissance comes to the world with a cry, the cry of the human spirit to be free.—Anne Sullivan

In a one-size fits all industrial age workplace following World War II, the man or woman with a Renaissance Soul had a harder time finding employment due to their inconsistent job history. The career paradigm during this period was having you choose a specific career path where you could climb the ladder to success while remaining with the same employer until retirement.

People who shifted careers were mainly viewed as unreliable and assumed to be jack-of-all-trades master of none.  There was little employment flexibility for the creative, talented woman or man with a Renaissance Soul who thrives on versatility and evolution rather than focusing exclusively on a singular career.

Within each career archetype, one being focused on a specialty and the other containing a variety of talents, there is a wide continuum.  Extreme examples of one end of the continuum to the other are Mozart and Benjamin Franklin.  Mozart’s main interest was music whereas Benjamin Franklin’s professional interests were diversified, as illustrated below:  
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart:
·         Composer
·         Pianist
·         Violinist

Benjamin Franklin: 
·         Inventor
·         Author
·         Diplomat
·         Statesperson
·         Philosopher
·         Printer
·         Journalist
·         Political Activist
·         Librarian
·         Satirist

Not everyone is as single minded as Mozart or with as broad a range of vocations as Ben Franklin.  In-between the continuum is an array of individuals who tend to be more on one side of the continuum than the other.  There are Renaissance Souls who may have both feet in each camp, e.g. a cardiologist by day and a practicing musician on the week-ends.

Basically there are 3 Characteristics of a Renaissance Soul:
  1. You have a penchant for diverse activities rather than being singularly focused.
  2. Your choice of work is being in an environment that encourages self-expression and growth versus an inflexible workplace.
  3. Your definition of success is defined by mastering the challenges along the way and not necessarily on how high up the ladder you’ve climbed.
Do any of these characteristics ring a bell toward your preference in being a Renaissance Soul?  
The industrial age was geared toward single-minded careers requiring  structured capabilities within the job description.   This period was followed by the information age which centered on knowledge and ideas as the main source of economic growth.  Today the majority of repetitive jobs from these eras are being replaced with artificial intelligence and robotics.
What’s next and how does it affect Renaissance Souls?  
The pendulum is swinging in favor of the Renaissance man or woman.  People will have several careers in their lifetime and having it show up on your resume won’t be looked upon as unusual.  Academia is taking notice.  Colleges are changing models to multiple interdisciplinary studies or you can set up your own major.  In the past academia was primarily geared toward the Mozarts. 

Daniel Pink, author of “Whole New Mind” states that: “The Conceptual Age” is the new era of work where current economic demand calls for workers who are skilled in areas guided by the right hemisphere of the brain.”

According to Danial Pink this new era is going to call for high touch and high concept.  Skills that only humans can do.

High concept “involves the ability to create artistic and emotional beauty, to detect patterns and opportunities, to craft a satisfying narrative, and to combine seemingly unrelated ideas into a novel invention.  High touch involves the ability to empathize, to understand the subtleties of human interaction, to find one’s self and to elicit it in others, and to stretch beyond the quotidian (mundane), in pursuit of purpose and meaning.” 

In the past employers might have put aside your resume if it listed more than one career specialty.  The preference was to hire someone with a single-minded career focus.  However, times are changing in favor for the Renaissance woman or man who is inclined to high touch and high concept.  You will be required to develop the right brain hemisphere along with the left side of the brain to create, invent, emphasize, and find purpose and meaning.

Today’s economic growth in the workplace is being created and developed to its next phase.  Whether you agree or disagree with all the changes it is wise to be knowledgeable to what’s happening.  It will give you the upper hand to take the necessary proactive steps to meet its challenges rather than being blindsided. 

To help you understand how to thrive as a Renaissance Soul there are resources.  Margaret Lobenstine, author of “The Renaissance Soul” would be a good start.  Through her training I learned how to identify and coach Renaissance men and women, as well as understand my own path as a Renaissance Soul.  

The conceptual age is an invitation for Renaissance women/men to step up and be an incremental part of the economic growth with purpose and meaning.  Are you a Renaissance Soul?  If so, what do you vision? 

My wish for you is:
“Be all you can be
Doing what you love while
Living an extraordinary life”

Theresa Maria Napa, CPCC, LOACC
Career Transition & Leadership Coach/Speaker
Copyright 2018 – Theresa Maria Napa

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About TM
Theresa Maria “TM” Napa is a certified career and leadership transition coach, and speaker who helps purpose driven professionals pinpoint their career passion.  Throughout her professional career she has constantly evolved and reinvented herself as evidenced by her steadfastly varied career in both corporate and creative roles, as well as being a business owner for over 18 years.