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The Rise of the Global Citizen — new opportunities for a global future

In 2010, I experienced an epiphany.  I realized first-hand at my job just how far the globalized world had progressed to the threshold of my doorstep.

At the time, I was a technology sales professional working at a cloud computing company in San Francisco, California.  As a regular part of my job, I was reviewing my customer base, assessing new sales opportunities, doing what every sales professional must do to generate more sales.

As I looked over my customer list, one thing stood out and grabbed my attention:  nearly half — 45 percent — of my customers were now outside the United States.  Further, they were based all over the world, with cultures far more diverse and different from my own, all seemingly far from headquarters.  They were in China and India and throughout Asia; several were in Latin American countries, and a few in Africa.

It was then that it hit me:  my customers were global now — and indeed my entire job was now global in scope.

And I realized my methods of achieving success had to kept pace with this new global reality — a reality that is now impacting everything I do on the job.

It was then that I decided to commit myself to align my work with a decidedly global lens.  I traveled to Thailand, Panama, Mexico, and India.  I taught English at a women’s empowerment center in Dharamsala India and started writing in this blog.

The Global Citizen Defined:  the Knowledge Worker connects to the world

When famed management scholar Peter Drucker first coined the term knowledge worker in 1959, he redefining work and society to reflect the new realities of life in a post-manufacturing world.    In Drucker’s view, work and society and the means of production were being transformed and driven by “visions, knowledge, and concepts.”

Similarly, in today’s world, the forces of globalization are increasingly impacting our daily lives.  From trans-border events like Ebola, to the global nature of instantaneous communications across the Internet, to the increasingly integrated way the world economy functions, to the rise of the global middle class, to the growing impact of trans-border migration — the distinction between what is global and what is local is increasingly joined.

Global citizens embrace these facts with greater ease, confidence, skill, and competence.  They operate with global skillful means appropriate for a globalized world.

A global citizen is someone who accepts the world into their personal and professional lives and operates with skill and ease in a trans-border world, where relationships — both personal and professional — manifest as part of an increasingly inter-dependent world view.

Global citizens might typically be found in roles of philanthropy and corporate social responsibly, working for non-profits or NGOs.  But increasingly, global citizens occupy roles in health care, teaching, project management, technology, engineering, investing, and citizen journalism.

Today we find that the world is coalescing.  A global citizen accepts this more interwoven pattern as his or her own reality, and even uses this globalized vision to their advantage.

Just as Peter Drucker expressed, “the next society will be a knowledge society,” so too we find that a global civil society is emerging in response to our increasing globalized world.

The future may belong to the global citizen.