Houston Futures alum and new futurist at Disney Emily Empel brought my attention to a piece, 7 Jobs You’ve Never Heard Of – And Why They’re Awesome, that mentions futurists as one of 7 awesome jobs that people have not heard of. The article suggests that futurist is one of the jobs where people scratch their head wondering “what do they do?”
I suspect we futurists could do a better job sharing that – maybe a “day in our lives” to people a sense of what we do. I remember when Graham Bowley of the Financial Times followed me around for a day (published as “The Time Lords”) trying to get this sense of what we do, and he seemed a bit disappointed that it was pretty “normal:” lots of computer and phone work.
Of the seven jobs the article lists — 1. Chief Listening Officer, 2. Food Stylist, 3. Global Mobility Consultant, 4. Computational Linguist, 5. Greensman, 6. Parabolic Expert, 7. Futurist – I suspect futurist has been around the longest. Futurists are perceived as new even though we’ve been around for decades. Nonetheless, it is a positive to see more mainstream coverage and that it’s favorable.
That said, it’s a bit disappointing as to how the futurist job is characterized. For instance, “Your predictions about shifting trends help to guide future business decisions.” Clearly they are referring to pop trendspotting kinds of positions. Okay, it’s a start. We’ll have plenty of work to do on “predictions” [insert standard rant here]. Again, good to see the job futurist portrayed in a positive light and the ball is in our court to frame the conversation about the range of what futurists do — as more such stories come out as interest in the future and futurists grows. Andy Hines