What Bees can teach us about careers

It’s World Bee Day and time to celebrate everything that our buzzing little friends do. And boy do they do a lot in their careers.

The national geographic tells us that bees go through 4 phases of work.

Phase 1 – Get on top of the basics

As soon as they are born, they get to work cleaning the very cells from which they’ve emerged, they prepare the world around them for the bees that are yet to follow.

Phase 2 – Help the next generation

They go into nursing mode, looking after other bees, feeding them, making sure the hive is well organised and a smooth-running operation.

Phase 3 – Mastering different skills

They take on the DIY responsibilities, fixing the hive, storing food. The protect other bees and act as guards at the entrance, fighting off predators who threaten the community.

Phase 4 – Show selfless leadership

In the final stage they take the most courageous step, leaving the hive to forage for food, finding the pollen and for us humans, helping with cross-pollination.

Those 4 phases – from learning the basics to selfless leadership contain the seeds of our own career development responsibilities towards others.

  1. We get on top of the basics – we learn the skills we need to do our jobs well and help others through on the job support.
  2. We inspire the next generation – encouraging people to learn more and celebrating their successes
  3. We change – by mastering new emerging skills, we encourage others to keep moving forward
  4. We make way – we create the space for new leaders to come through, with the energy a vigour to keep the colony going, because ultimately we’re only here for a short while.

Bees live for between 40-50 days and during that time they work tirelessly. There is no downtime, no holiday. At the end of their lives, they make their way out of the hive to die. It’s a pretty thankless existence.

Thankfully, many employers are not like that. I’ve been delighted that @The Team Brand Design have been helping IBM with their Careers Fest 22, dedicated to helping IBMers think about how they can accelerate their careers. It’s a great opportunity to grow.

With the half-life of skills accelerating year-on-year and technology enables us to do more or makes old roles redundant, career movement is here to stay and it’s up to communicators like The Team to help clients bring this to life for employees around the world.

Photo by Bianca Ackermann on Unsplash