by Tom Rink, Oklahoma Chapter, Advertising & Marketing Division
This is the definition of “Future Ready.” When you stop to think about it, the future is really only a second away. We spend out entire lives preparing for our futures. And while we cannot predict what these futures may be, our hopes, dreams, and desires help us steer toward our possible futures.
Continuous learning is the key to being “future ready.” Informally, we learn from our parents and we learn from our environments and experiences; formally, we attend schools (and later colleges) to prepare ourselves for our individual futures. Our “futures” become our “presents” as we begin careers, but the learning doesn’t stop here; we continue to learn through in-service training, continuing education, and other professional development opportunities in order to stay abreast in our chosen fields.
Being an information professional was not my first career. Once I decided that this was the direction I wanted my life to take, I had to take the necessary steps to prepare myself for this new future. How did I make myself “future ready” for a new career? It all started with a plan. Having a plan/goal (i.e., knowing the direction that you’d like your future to go) certainly helps you transition from the present to the future. I went back to school to attain the formal education required, I read the important journals, I joined the professional associations, I attended conferences, and I networked with other professionals in the field. I immersed myself into the culture of my desired future so that when the opportunity presented itself, I’d be ready to grab this future with both hands and move forward. My plan worked. After a twenty-five year career in one field, I was “ready” for and successfully transitioned to the “future.”
How do I plan to stay “future ready?” I will continue to learn and take advantage of every available opportunity. For example, I’m not the most “tech savvy” person in the world, but a couple of years ago I understood the importance of the whole web 2.0 and social media movement and completed the 23 Things program just to get up-to-date. I’m hoping to stay up-to-date by embracing and using these web 2.0 and social media tools (blogs, RSS feeds, etc.).
The only constant in life is change and to be truly “future ready” you must conquer your fear of change, envision your future, and never look back.
Tom Rink is a member of the Oklahoma Chapter and the Treasurer of the Advertising & Marketing Division. In 2005 he was named SLA Fellow. He is 25-year veteran of the Tulsa, Oklahoma police department who successfully transitioned to academia in late 2007. He is currently an Instruction Librarian at Northeastern State University – Broken Arrow Campus. Tom has been active in SLA since 1996 holding numerous leadership positions.