here come the robots: what does it take to stay future proof?

We live in an age where technology makes life easier all the time. Need a text translated? Google Translate, right? How about quick checkout at the supermarket? Head on over to the self-checkout. Time to book your next trip? A ticket to your dream destination is just a few clicks away. ‘We are the robots /We are programmed just to do / Anything you want us to’: Kraftwerk already saw what the future had in store back in 1978. Is this the end of an era for translators, cashiers and travel agents?

A number of jobs have seen their heyday come and go, but don't worry just yet. With just a few clever strategies, those robots can be kept nicely at bay. How? To figure it out, we went straight to the source: Sci-Fi of course!

 

learn how to shapeshift, just like the X-Men’s Mystique.

Whatever dire straights she finds herself in, Mystique effortlessly shifts into the shape that works best for her at the time. Are we trying to tell you that you have to become invisible whenever your gossipy colleague walks by? No, of course not. (If only it could work that way!) What it does mean, however, is that continuing to develop throughout your career is a must. So make sure to keep up the lifelong learning. Apply for internal vacancies Volunteer to be a guinea pig when your boss is on the lookout for candidates to test out an innovative method or tool. That’s how to boost your sustainable employability.

 

use cutting-edge technology, like Marty McFly did in Back to the Future.

He made the switch from an old-fashioned skateboard to a supersonic hoverboard without breaking a sweat. Marty McFly is as future proof as it gets. And it certainly didn’t leave him any worse for wear: his rapid adaptability made it possible for him to outsmart his enemies. So make sure you’re current on today’s technology. Even if there isn’t an immediate connection, you never know when it might come in handy. Consider a job application, for instance. Do you excel at telepathic programming (or whatever they might invent in 2050)? And is your competitor still walking around with the iPhone 22XY? Well, you won’t have any trouble running circles around him or her.

 

think innovative, like Mark Watney in The Martian.

During a manned mission to Mars, astronaut Mark Watney is stranded on the red planet after a freak sandstorm. Watney understood that it would only be four years later that a new mission would launch for Mars. But did he wallow in self-pity and fall prey to doomsday thinking? No way. He got his brain in gear and came up with innovative solutions to stave off the worst of his plight for as long as possible. Growing potatoes: check. Producing water out of hydrazine: check. The Martian teaches us that creativity is indispensable when it comes to effortlessly handling threats, unexpected circumstances or problems. That's a top-notch skill that you can also use in the workplace.

 

develop a unique skill set, like Dr Louise Banks in Arrival.

Can a robot take your place? Not if you have a unique set of human skills at your disposal that are impossible to imitate. The mix of limitless patience, empathy and linguistic insight are what ultimately enable Doctor Louise Banks in Arrival to understand the language of the aliens. So don’t just limit yourself to a single, specific field of expertise: hone your soft skills too! By doing so, you’ll make yourself indispensable. Robots are (for the time being) still kind of a disaster when it comes to human emotions.

 

learn how to work as a team, like the heroes (anti-heroes) of Guardians of the Galaxy did.

You’re stronger together. That's the message Guardians of the Galaxy underscores. When the hell-bent-on-destruction villain, Ronan the Accuser, seeks to seize control over the universe, a ragtag band of small-time criminals is forced to learn how to work as a team. It’s the only way for them to prevent catastrophe. Are you faced with a problem that seems insurmountable? Well, make sure you know who you can rely on to help you take care of it. That means inside you own organisation, but outside too. The moral of the story here is that you should develop a network of people with skills that complement your own. Bonus: they’re bound to lend you a hand with useful strategies as well.

Worth noting: most of the aforementioned skills have little to do with degrees or knowledge, but have more to do with the capacity to learn and adapt. That's because change is the only constant you can depend on. And that change is happeningfaster than ever. And for that reason, it’s precisely those skills that make you a future proof employee.

Isn’t it about time to start honing all your skills for the future?