The Future Test: Are You Ready?

Look, not all of us have the luxury of a time-travelling Delorean, or indeed Christopher Lloyd’s hairdo. The future therefore remains uncharted territory. But as a wise man once said, “confidence is preparation, everything else is beyond your control” – so take a peek at the questions below to see whether you’re good and ready, and if you aren’t, what to do about it.

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1. Do you feel like your education has prepared you for the world of work?
2. Have you honed all the personal qualities needed to excel in a job interview?
3. Do you have a clear idea of what you want your career path to look like?
4. Are you ready for life’s challenges, professional adventures, and job satisfaction beyond your wildest dreams?

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If you answered “no” to two or more of these questions, it sounds like you could use a leg up when it comes to futureproofing your professional self. Basically, this all boils down to taking ownership of your skills development; there’s no denying that a defining feature of humongously successful people is that they are proactive rather than reactive and don’t think twice about grabbing the bull by the horns.

We’ve been in this business for a good few years now, and we reckon we can pinpoint three pretty good courses of action to help you adopt an enterprising approach to your career. All three involve hacking into the mindset of an entrepreneur – because entrepreneurs have an annoying habit of getting what they want out of life and generally manifesting their own good luck and happiness. Dagnabbit! Whether or not you also take the plunge and found your own company sometime down the line, or simply work alongside an entrepreneur for a period of time, adopting an entrepreneurial mindset is a surefire way to see the bigger picture.

 

1. ATTEND AN ENTREPRENEURSHIP EVENT

There are tons of events out there that are tailor-made to prepare you for a life of enterprise – or at least help you figure out if that might be the right path for you. And if it turns out not to be, there’s still everything to gain here as you’ll learn a whole bunch of career-beneficial stuff while going through the motions, such as how to leverage your personal network to make connections with the right people.

One such event is the Entrepreneurship Experience Programme, which is an action-packed four days hitting up London this very summer. The whole point of the event is to help you figure out A) whether you could have a glittering future as an entrepreneur and B) to teach you the positive traits of an entrepreneur, which will set you in good professional stead, regardless of whether you end up being one or not.

Irrespective of whether or not you fancy yourself as the next Jobs or Zuckerberg, you’ll learn things over the course of the event that will be a feather in your cap until the day you collect your first pension cheque. From workshops geared around essential “people skills” such as networking, collaboration and teamwork, all the way to interview-based learning (one-on-one mentoring with real life entrepreneurs) – you will come away armed with wisdom about practical, small-scale entrepreneurship. The kind of wisdom that anyone and everyone can benefit from, not just those who aspire towards the dizzying heights of tech superstardom and blink-of-an-eyelid corporate acquisitions.

It’s also a cunning way to meet like-minded souls and start building formative relationships with impressive people who could turn out to be pretty handy contacts at some point in the future. Did we mention there will be a whole bunch of “been there, done that, got the t-shirt” entrepreneurs present? Yah. Just make sure you bring your little black book.

The Entrepreneurship Experience Programme is happening at University College London from 16-19 June 2014, and there are plenty of opportunities to barter a hefty discount for anyone who shows a bit of initiative. We know you lot – you’ve got initiative in spades, and for the right negotiator with the right creative idea, there’s absolutely a chance for you to wrangle yourself and your friends a free ticket. Head on over this way for full details.

 

2. DO A FREE ONLINE COURSE

Or ‘MOOCs’, as all the cool cats call them these days (Massively Open Online Courses). The good news is they are gloriously free; the bad news is that you’ll have to very much be your own taskmaster. If you miss a webinar, there will be no snotty emails of reprimand. If you don’t finish the course, there will be no apocalyptic repercussions. In short – what have you got to lose?

Taking control of your own learning means, by default, taking control of your own future. And no we won’t stop harping on about that, dammit. Just pick an area of interest that you’d like to hone into an area of expertise, get googling, and get MOOCing. CourseraFutureLearnedX and Lynda are jolly good places to start looking.

 

3. WORK ALONGSIDE AN ENTREPRENEUR

We’d be daft if we didn’t say this, because MAN ALIVE, we have tried and tested it till the cows come home: one of the most pragmatic ways to get yourself future-ready is to work for a startup or SME. Why? Because the scope of activities for you to get involved with is much greater than when working in a corporate behemoth: you could be handling the sales calls one day and project-managing an event or writing a blog the next day. Whatever job function you are hired as to begin with, it’s inevitable that you’ll render yourself a bona fide all-rounder – and word on the street is that those guys are dangerously brilliant.

Whatever you end up doing, we reckon it’s bound to be at least as shiny and wonderful as Back to the Future. Not to mention the reduced risk of whiplash. Godspeed, fortune-chasers.

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