Wow – What else can possibly happen? In recent memory, I don’t think we’ve had this many economic disruptions.

Combined with perpetual advances in technology work, the future is bound to be a balance between human intervention and automated technologies.

Al algorithms have developed rapidly over the last few years and many basic repetitive tasks have now been digitized and performed by natural-language processing, machine learning and robotics.

Given all this – how can you identify what you need to do today to succeed tomorrow? You need to pay attention to five macro forces:

  • Sociological forces have to do with demographic changes brought on by growing shifts in immigration, cultural mixing and aging of the population.
  • Technological forces include disruptive technologies, energy generation and material science.
  • Economic forces are the continuous ebb and flow of the business cycle – inflation, stagnation and deflation.
  • Environmental forces are the continuous impact of climate change and exhaustion of key natural resources.
  • Political forces have to do with global socioeconomic forces, military actions and political challenges.

The fact is that life and business, as we have known them, are changing rapidly and the careers of the past are disintegrating into a whole new set of technologically driven career paths that will be of shorter duration with less stability requiring more “techie” skills than most people today possess.

Unfortunately, the current population configuration is still living from day-to-day and week-to-week, depending on a paycheck that has not been able to keep up with the rapid increases in the cost of daily living brought on primarily by advances in technology, climate change and global economic turbulence.

So, the question is – what do you need to learn as quickly as possible to be prepared to survive in the new world of work?

Obviously, the basic questions are:

  • Where do I see myself 5 years from now? You have to get out of the short-term existence and assumptions about the future that are no longer valid in the new world of work.
  • What skills do I need to learn to be an active participant in the technology driven marketplace that is rapidly evolving?
  • What kind of company do I want to be working for that satisfies my personal work/life balance?
  • How am I preparing to survive in the long-term new world of constant change and disruption?
  • What are some contingency plans for what to do if things change more rapidly than I am planning for?

Need help? Let me know what’s most important for you to learn as soon as possible.

Robert M. Donnelly is an author, educator and brand builder for businesses and individuals. His consultancy business is called His corporate life was spent in executive positions with IBM, Pfizer and EXXON and then as the CEO for several U.S. subsidiaries of foreign multinational firms. Professor Donnelly is on the faculty of Saint Peters University as well as Rushmore University, a global online university. His latest book is Personal Brand Planning for Life, available on Amazon. He also functions as an interim executive. You can contact him at or visit his website at