Automation’s great – When you’re the manager, not the person turning the widget

This article, with a Phoenix, Arizona dateline sums up much of the issue we have with technology, robotics and automation.

As I teach students about the pioneers of tech, from Edison to Jobs, from Babbage to Berners-Lee, I have to temper it with discussion on what computers in general (and algorithms / automation in particular) are doing for us. Or will do for them when they enter the workforce.

The article states that Some economists have concluded that “the use of robots explains the decline in the share of national income going into workers’ paychecks over the last three decades.”

In a state where autonomous cars are quite common –at least the Waymo variety being test-driven in the Chandler & Mesa area, algorithms and jobs are on top of our minds!



In tough times job seekers need to expand job description

One more follow up to my post about what communicators could do during these tough economic times.

Annie Waite at Melcrum has an excellent post on how to look for interim positions during the downturn. The key seems to be flexibility.

I used to put it another way: that old line “It’s not on my job description” is an attitude  that we need to expel. You can’t blame people who started checking all the boxes on their job description, just to get a great performance review. But in doing this, we box ourselves into our jobs, not realizing that over a few months that job has changed.

While doing a good job of communicating how good we are in what we do, we should not unwittingly communicate how unwilling we are to do something different, daring, unexpected. It’s easy to communicate you are an out-of-the-box type of person without using that tired expression.  Here are a few simple ways:

  • Read something new. Completely outside your sphere of interest. Ask someone with that expertise to clarify what it says. It will stretch your mind, and make you more accessible should the need arise.
  • Try something different every month. It could be a tactic, a piece of software, or sit in a meeting you might normally avoid. If you’re not sure what’s possible, check Managing The Gray, an excellent way to stimulate your marketing ideas. CC Chapman’s podcast is like a Red Bull for your mind.
  • Get feedback. It’s tough for someone who  thinks he/she is an expert to ask others to give some honest feedback, but asking for feedback communicates that you are willing to learn.
  • Hang out with some really ‘weird’ people. I say this in a good way. Don’t just socialize with people like yourself. Try attending a Podcamp (there’s one this weekend in Phoenix). Have lunch with a journalist or a geek. It’s amazing what you will learn in 15 minutes! I met some retirees over coffee this morning at Einsteins, and was introduced to The Black Swan, and epistemology!