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Subscription culture: question your autopilot

Updated: Jun 17, 2020



How many digital subscriptions and/or membership services have expanded your accessibility to product, people and/or performance?


Subscriptions have become more seamless as digital goods have taken over the market. Tangible goods are slowly evaporating into digital goods to which we are all subscribing. Subscriptions symbolize choice within our information age. So while information appears to be expanding, a subscription structures an information capsule that offers certainty and stability while potentially minimizing our control for adaptation. We are able to design our own echo chambers for the information we consume and connections we assume. While this may produce positive outcomes, it can also influence behaviors that may stop serving you at a certain point. The great resource that subscriptions provide is convenience and efficiency, however this can only be sustained when regulated by the user.


One of ALTR’s mottos is question our autopilot. Questioning your autopilot is taking a moment to witness your behavior and emotions by asking yourself: is this serving me AND is it helpful? It’s about consciously making decisions so that you are aligning your actions with your values, needs and intentions. It allows you to use the space between stimulus and response in a more sophisticated and thoughtful way; requiring a sense of being present. Rather than being a victim of circumstance, questioning your autopilot may offer you a higher sense of control. Often times people are striving for consistency in their careers, and therefore will continue doing work that no longer serves them years after this sense is felt.


As I continue completing research on career identity and work-related smartphone use, I am finding that managing our work-related smartphone use may be tied into this subscription culture in which many feel that they have fallen victim. We may be synchronizing our work identities through our work-related smartphone behaviors, therefore potentially making it more difficult for people who are not satisfied in their current careers to continue in that position. The constant work demands may create a sense of significance and productivity, amplifying your current career identity. If it is amplified, like the subscription echo chambers, it becomes easier to stay in reactive mode. This may be difficult for someone interested in a career transition as true behavior change follows identity change.


What have you subscribed to in your current career and which of those subscriptions are no longer helpful for you? Giving yourself permission to alter by questioning your autopilot behaviors can be a useful start in identifying if your career is still serving you.

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