Upskilling : A Job Skill Or a Life Skill?

We are upskilling ourselves from childhood. We upskilled from a crawl to a walk as a child, from school to college as a teen and being dependent to finding independence as an adult. However, something that comes so naturally to us in childhood becomes rarer as we grow older. The law of inertia seems to catch up, and Comfort and Familiarity take centre stage.

I started my Media Planning career and was part of the largest Media Agencies for the first three years of my career(2003–2005). These were the golden days of Television — K Serials on Star Plus; Full Page Ads on every alternate right side page in print. My paltry media planner salary was justified by invitations to lavish media parties every week. However, I was eager to learn new things, and Digital was an up and coming medium with a crazy growth rate. I mustered up the courage to change from a conventional agency to a digital agency. Not only did I get an immediate 2X increase in salary, but this move determined things that were about to happen in my career in the future. I chose Upskilling over Inertia/Familiarity, which led me to roles in a top travel commerce company and finally, a position in one of my dream companies(Facebook).

In the last 15 years, fundamental ecosystem changes have disrupted the way things work. Take a few examples :

1. During the recession in 2008, an open-source operating system called Android launched and paved the way for a mobile revolution. One of the largest Mobile phone manufacturers from Europe saw their downfall as they thought of the mobile phone as the hero and not the OS. With Android launch, suddenly in the blink of an eye, the OS was the centre point, and devices just had to wrap their brand name around it.

2. Post-2010, native apps started becoming popular because of their stickiness and user retention. Digital content creation and eCommerce swiftly moved from websites to apps as Mobile became the new “always-on” laptop. Those who did not adapt by building an app and responsive msite perished.

3. After 2016, digital content creation was changed forever with Ephemeral Media Creation (Temporary Content Creation) becoming a rage. From Snapchat to IG Stories — Over a billion stories are posted daily — to Tiktok to countless Indian video apps, content creation has done a complete makeover. This trend has created an Influencer ecosystem where 20 something youths are lifestyle influencers earning comfortably from Branded Content ads/Sponsorships on social media while doing their day jobs. Did you know that Cristiano Ronaldo makes more money being an influencer on Instagram than playing soccer for Juventus? (Yes it’s true: Link)

Adapting to Digital, Social, New age Content Creation are things that one must adapt to in this new age and time. With COVID19 and Work from home, Consumer behaviour has fundamentally changed. The new normal has changed the purchase pathway, and both Brands and us as individuals must adapt to Unlock the new normal.

Upskilling oneself with Digital Skills also means a plethora of new job opportunities that open up in today’s world: The ever-growing Gig Economy (E.g., Fiver, Freelancer); Becoming a Social Media Influencer (IG, YT, etc.) and Digital Marketing are best examples of readily available jobs that exist in the market.

The way I look at it is a supply and demand curve that we all have read in Economics in childhood. Today’s traditional media has lesser demand and more supply, which creates disbalance. Digital Marketing is a right balance of supply and demand and hence positioned well as a correct career choice.

But I feel Upskilling is a Life Skill and not just a Career Skill. Here’s 5 things that I do regularly to upskill myself and in 2020 I have seen these below things making me happier and healthier :

· Upskill from Traditional Print To Subscription On News Aggregators : Subscription models are not dependant on Advertising and thus give quality news to their premium users. Digital news aggregators like Flipboard, In shorts also aggregate news from all sources in a customized manner. Better than the barrage of misleading messages that you get on Traditional media which is driven by Ads

· Upskill from Sedentary Lifestyle to a healthy you : Investing on a Smartwatch and subscribing to a Strava were the two best things I did last summer. Imagine this : In Mar 2020, I was not able to run 2 Km non stop and by Dec’20, I had run a 10 K. And I did not kill myself to do this. Just daily walks and runs and gradually increasing the Km count and Voila!

· Upskill from Indifference to Gratitude : Have you practiced mindfulness and meditation 2–3 times a week on a Calm or a Headspace? Its amazing how good you feel when you sit in morning and feel gratitude for all you have, people who love you. It uplifts you for the day and improves work efficiency and personal relationships

· Upskill for your Career in the Future, not present : The world is going Digital. Work and Life are getting blurred. Businesses are going online. Microinfluencers are ruling social media. Look at your current job and think how this industry will pan out in next 2–3 years. Make your moves based on that.

· Upskill your hobby : If you have been playing the Acoustic Guitar, move to Electric. If you have been playing the keyboards, learn piano notes. Never a better time to sharpen your skills further. I took to composing and songwriting in 2020 and was able to pen down 10 + songs.

Let me know what you think of my musings. This is my first medium post so be kind :-). In case you want to connect , reach out to me on saurav@beatravelbuddy.com

Cheers

Saurav Chakraborty — Digital Transformation and Growth Hacking

Over 17 years expertise across domains like Offline, Digital (eCommerce and Travel) , Business & Sales Consulting and Growth Hacking.