Seth Godin asks a sobering question in The Icarus Deception:
What do you do when your comfort zone and safety zone are no longer the same?
Our job, (if we’ve been at it for a while) feels comfortable.
Our apartment feels comfortable.
An old pair of shoes feels comfortable.
Familiar things feel comfortable. The status quo feels comfortable.
But as we’re seeing in industry after industry, the status quo is often far from safe:
Ask the taxi driver who now waits for fares at the airport parked amidst a swarm of Uber drivers.
Ask whomever manufactured the metronome I just gave away. Who needs a freestanding metronome? I have a smartphone.
Frankly, ask some higher education professionals. Our sector isn’t immune to sea change. I don’t know what higher ed will look like in 10 years, but in a world where one can complete MIT’s computer science program for free, massive change is coming. Information is no longer scarce, but many universities are still operating as though it were.
As Seth points out, safe is rarely comfortable.
Remaining in a job that’s no longer challenging us might be comfortable, but it’s not safe. Our peers are gaining new skills while we coast.
The safe option might be switching careers, aggressively gaining new skills, or even going back to school. These choices are about as comfortable as skinny-dipping in December.
Today, for most of us, our comfort zone and safety zone no longer occupy the same space. The more we keep this in mind, the better off we’ll be.