Monday, April 07, 2008

Make the future your bitch

Change. It's something that's ongoing and inevitable. People can try to stop change but in reality all they are doing is postponing it. The people that failed to learn how to use computers in the 1980s and early 1990s are officially on the outside looking in. My oldest sister-in-law fits in that category. It's a recipe consisting of two parts stubbornness and one part ineptitude.

Other changes are inevitable as well. I was reading this story about the impending development boom along the last stretch of undeveloped freeway frontage in the Twin Cities stretching from Interstate 494 to Hudson, Wisconsin and the analogy there is that one small town (Lake Elmo) has had so much in-fighting that they have wasted four years that could have been used to prepare for the inevitable and Supreme Court ruled expansion. But, as I said, they pissed away four years postponing what most everyone had to know, at least in some part, was going to happen.

Delaying the inevitable, though, isn't restricted to only people and short-sighted towns in Minnesota. The past few years have shown us that media companies would rather file lawsuits than work to embrace change and make the future their bitch as opposed to being made the bitch. Layoffs run rampant locally and nationally at a plethora of media companies. They failed to see what was coming and are now forced to play catch up. Those employees whose salaries were deemed to be too bloated were cut loose. Those employees who themselves had failed to embrace new technology and failed to contribute new ideas are viewed as expendable.

The lesson here is not to try and see the future but inform yourself, don't get far behind and blaze your own trails. If you do those things while contributing to the greater conversation, you are at least less likely to find yourself in the unemployment line. But these are just my tips and experiences. What have you done in your job to better prepare yourself in the face of change? What skills have you added that you didn't have half a decade ago?

10 comments:

The Future Was Yesterday said...

"It's a recipe consisting of two parts stubbornness and one part ineptitude."
May I add one part fear?:) My (84 yr old then) Dad would carefully pull his chair away so that no part of the computer was touchable when I asked him to sit beside me. I actually got him to sit in front of the keyboard once....but he was shaking so badly I let him move away, which he did with great haste!

Theresa said...

I'm a stay-at-home mom, but I've kept up with technology, so if I ever go back to the working world I hope not to do too badly. More importantly, I'm keeping ahead of my kids on this stuff, otherwise who knows what kind of trouble they might get into. ;)

No said...

I actually dare use the computer as opposed to 10 years ago...I was one of those people in college in the 80's who ignored the computer altogether...I knew it would catch up to me to bite me in the ass, though, and I wisely "techied" myself up..all I do is use the computer now...I'm totally addicted..what do I do now?

Sornie said...

Great point Theresa, regardless of age it's a good thing to be one step ahead of your kids!

No, you could always sign up for one of those scam "jobs" that end up in my e-mail where you could review online advertisements and pull down $50k/month+.

Future, I think that at the age of your father, fear of technology is acceptable but can still be changed. My wife's grandma is close to that age and she'd make a better graphic designer (she went to college for it a few years back) than a lot of the kids who fall for the "colleges" that advertise on late night TV.

Michelle Ann said...

I have to say that at one time I was guilty of technology ignorance. I was a restaurant chef; why did I need to know about a computer. But, when I elected to change careers, I was scared of what I didn't know. Now, I am one of the more technologically saavy people I know. Knowledge is power and lack of knowledge only leads to fear and lack of progress.

Okay...off my soap box now! :)

cathouse teri said...

I'm not really into change. I like paper money. :)

VE said...

I didn't have a humor blog. I'm putting THAT on my next resume...

snowelf said...

I bathe in technology daily. :)

--snow

Sornie said...

Hopefully you're only bathing in battery operated technology because the shock and resulting death from electric technology would just be sad.

Brendan said...

Your comments about Lake Elmo in particular reminded me of the latest Salon column by Garrison Keillor. Excerpt:

We are brought up to defer, an After You Alphonse reflex, and wave others to go first at the intersection, and sometimes we use deference aggressively, as a way of encouraging fools to walk out on thin ice and fall in, so we can enjoy seeing them flounder and then perhaps rescue them. And so committee meetings in the Midwest can be torturous: The knowledgeable sit back and listen to some clueless gasbag blow for awhile and an eternity passes and the main questions are never addressed and eventually the meeting grinds to a halt and some poor soul is left to do the hard work on her own and the gasbag goes on to his next triumph.