New world a break from old shackles

It is indeed a time of great change ("Act now to adjust to brave new world" by Dr George Wong Seow Choon; Wednesday).

Technology has changed the way we live, work and play.

Interpersonal relationships have also taken a back seat, with people preferring non-face-to-face interactions instead.

Power relations in the corporate setting get chipped away, as millennial workers emphasise self-efficacy. They relish work that gives them meaning, not just putting food on the table. Lifetime employment is passe.

But this break from past norms is a great thing.

We recognise differences and accept them. No two academic or career pathways are alike.

We can tailor what suits us at different points of our lives. We can take a gap year to travel, start a business, join a worthy cause, take up courses that enhance our knowledge or skills, start over in uncharted work or interests, or allot more time to nurse our growing children or ageing parents.

Indeed, this flexibility will make us more nimble and adaptable to new trends. The new economy requires out-of-the-box thinking.

We witness a greater emphasis on cross-disciplinary education. We see old trades given a new lease of life through new designs and deliveries.

Adapt and change we must.

Increasingly, we have become more empowered to do what is best for ourselves. We take charge of our lives. We throw off the shackles of the past and find freedom to just be.

This change is long overdue.

For far too long, many of us have lived the ideals defined by others. We garnered material badges to gain acceptance from others. Without the trappings, we felt worthless.

All these things have become passe, and thank goodness for it.

A new era beckons. It has never been better.

Lee Teck Chuan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 06, 2016, with the headline 'New world a break from old shackles'. Print Edition | Subscribe