Distinguished Professor Robert M. Donnelly
Much has been written about technology displacing managers who historically did what sophisticated algorithms, robots, and AI can do now in the new world of work. This has been referred to by researchers as the “hollowing out of the middle class”.
I have been advocating the concept of “lifelong learning” to students for years because I see many people who stop embellishing their skills soon after graduating. Obviously, the speed of change today makes it imperative for people to keep learning to survive in the new world of data science driven work.
Unfortunately, most of those being made redundant by technology do not have the skills to take advantage of the new jobs being created by technology. Nor can they be learned quickly.
Add to this the fact that these same people never developed a career plan and you have a dilemma that can only worsen.
It’s hard to imagine how anyone facing 35 to 40 years of work hasn’t thought about what they want to become so that they can manage all that time working toward that goal? The changes brought on by technology were obvious years ago, but ignored by all those being displaced by it.
There is an old management maxim: There are three kinds of managers – (1) those that make things happen, (2) those that watch things happen, and (3) those that wonder what happened? Obviously, there are many more 2’s and 3’s, than 1’s.
Complacency and lack of career planning are the two most dangerous traits anyone can fall victim to. If you don’t know what you want to be, then you can’t be it. Many allow others to manage their lives and careers for them. They accept the assumption that someone else is going to take care of them as Mom and Dad did when they were growing up, through their schooling, and then others under the company umbrella.
Anyone who is a student of business knows that the primary objective of any business is to generate a profit, a return to the owners/shareholders, and the incentive to sustain the management team in their positions. So the CEO of any business is going to do whatever is necessary to sustain their generous salaries and keep the shareholders happy.
If adopting technology improves profitability by eliminating salaries and benefits of employees and increases productivity, then that is what they are going to do. It’s a fact that companies are more profitable and efficient today with fewer employees. The goal of growth and profitability is more important than the employees at most organisations.
However, I don’t know if the employees at most companies understand that clearly. When the profitability and share prices are going down employees are the victims. Toys-R-Us recently went out-of-business and 30,000 employees lost their jobs. No termination compensation or extension of benefits.
If your life and family are in jeopardy because of technology and you are not aware of it and are planning for it, who do you have to blame but yourself, because in most cases it was obvious that it was going to happen long before it did.
It’s easy to stay up-to-date on what’s happening technologically and otherwise, but to do that you have to be a lifelong learner.
Robert M. Donnelly, a Distinguished Professor at Rushmore, is an author, educator, and brand builder. His book: Personal Brand Building for Life. is available on Amazon.