August 10, 2021

Perspectives: Finding our way

Finding our way

I wrote last year, from my perspective as a career professional, about navigation and wayfinding as powerful metaphors for the life journey that is your career. The pandemic was then mainly of concern at a distance and not an immediate career development issue here in Auckland, let alone Aotearoa New Zealand. How quickly circumstances can change. The ripples from Covid-19 morphed into  waves that pushed us to rethink our daily lives from local, national and international perspectives.

Wayfinding through the disruptions

The real and immediate effects of the coronavirus demanded  pragmatic and innovative steps to ensure wellbeing and protect livelihoods.

A career development response to what became the “new normal” of disruptions in employment and social connections  drew on tried and true methods for supporting people to solve problems in navigating their career journey. In addition, digital technologies have increasingly been used in supporting  people through the necessary steps of reflecting, exploring, creating plans, and initiating those plans.

Lessons from the AI ecosystem

Somewhat ironically, the ongoing conversations/debates about the impact of AI and robots on jobs of the future may have already prepared us to navigate socially just ways for addressing the likely impacts of the pandemic on people’s career development. My involvement in the AI Forum NZ working group on law, ethics and society afforded me the opportunity to hear and share views about the role of government, public and private sectors, and the collective responsibility of AI stakeholders to design, develop and use AI systems to promote the wellbeing of New Zealanders. Our working group  published a set of guiding principles for trustworthy AI in Aotearoa New Zealand. A key focus was to make sure the principles are simple, succinct and user-friendly.

To find socially just solutions for the complex career development and labour market challenges emerging from the pandemic, the five AI principles could be useful compass points: Fairness and Justice; Reliability, Security and Privacy; Transparency; Human oversight and Accountability; and Wellbeing.

Kindness is calming, so as we continue to find our way through disruptions—wherever we live—let’s look out for and be kind to one another, and especially for those who are vulnerable.

Dr Val O’Reilly is an Executive Director of The Career Development Company