Seth Godin writes two brilliant pieces about the future of the job market. If I could only share two articles with a college student today, it would be these. To put it simply, the middle of the road, brain dead job is gone. I’ve made it one of my missions to help college students understand this.
Far gone are the days where you follow this path through high school, get a college degree, and end up with a decently paying job you can coast through. You have to be great. You have to think and make connections on your own. The problem is, he (and I) are preaching to the choir. If you’re reading this blog, you’re probably making connections and growing on your own.
I regularly hear from people who say, “enough with this conceptual stuff, tell me how to get my factory moving, my day job replaced, my consistent paycheck restored…” There’s an idea that somehow, if we just do things with more effort or skill, we can go back to the Brady Bunch and mass markets and mediocre products that pay off for years. It’s not an idea, though, it’s a myth.
Some people insist that if we focus on “business fundamentals” and get “back to basics,” all will return. Not so. The promise that you can get paid really well to do precisely what your boss instructs you to do is now a dream, no longer a reality.
It takes a long time for a generation to come around to significant revolutionary change. The newspaper business, the steel business, law firms, the car business, the record business, even computers… one by one, our industries are being turned upside down, and so quickly that it requires us to change faster than we’d like.
It’s unpleasant, it’s not fair, but it’s all we’ve got. The sooner we realize that the world has changed, the sooner we can accept it and make something of what we’ve got. Whining isn’t a scalable solution.
Don’t miss part 2 with the good news, The Opportunity:
Are there dislocations? There’s no doubt about it. Pain and uncertainty and risk, for sure.
The opportunity, though, is the biggest of our generation (or the last one, for that matter). The opportunity is there for anyone (with or without a job) smart enough to take it–to develop a best in class skill, to tell a story, to spread the word, to be in demand, to satisfy real needs, to run from the mediocre middle and to change everything.