Work-Life Strategies & Solutions

On the Evolution of Work Systems in the Digital Economy

Category Archives: The Digital Economy

Here’s to the lazy ones. The slackers. The flaky. The unconscientious. The bumps on a log. The ones who cut corners. They’re not fond of duty…

For those who aren’t aware, the title of this post is stylized after Apple Inc.’s  “Think Different” (a/k/a “Crazy Ones”) advertising campaign quote. However, this isn’t a satirical piece but, instead, an exercise in challenging conventional wisdom. While conscientiousness, a Big 5 personality trait, is often cited as the single best predictor of career success, it’s not the end of the world if you aren’t naturally well-endowed with it. The catch is that you must possess some other extraordinary quality that is rewarded in the context of your work situation. I believe that General Kurt von Hammerstein-Equord would agree as he stated back in 1933:

I divide my officers into four classes; the clever, the lazy, the industrious, and the stupid. Each officer possesses at least two of these qualities. Those who are clever and industrious are fitted for the highest staff appointments. Use can be made of those who are stupid and lazy. The man who is clever and lazy however is for the very highest command; he has the temperament and nerves to deal with all situations. But whoever is stupid and industrious is a menace and must be removed immediately!

Read more of this post

A Look at the Workplace of the Future [Infographic]

Here’s a stunning graphic that includes projections for a wide variety of future workplace trends. Check it out!  Read more of this post

Is our native intelligence being burdened by increasing complexity?

Are People Getting Dumber?: The World Grows More Complex” presents one of the funniest social commentaries I’ve ever read. At another level, I know it’s not a funny issue of course. Rather, this turns out to be an interesting one to think about. Here is an excerpt as written by Linda S. Gottfredson, a professor in the School of Education who studies the sociology of intelligence at the University of Delaware:

Many of us feel stupider by the year, if not the week. Age and ill health take their toll, but Mother Nature isn’t the culprit. It’s those clever people busily complicating our lives, innovation by innovation, upgrade upon upgrade. They don’t lower our native intelligence, but relentlessly burden it… Just ask a humorist. One “Frank and Ernest” comic strip shows a caveman pointing to an engraved stone tablet and saying: “Look! I just invented writing!” His companion says: “Thanks a lot! You just made everybody else in the world illiterate!” Read more of this post

Societal Structures Influencing Telework Adoption Rate

Previously, we explored cultural as well as psychological and sociological factors determining receptivity to telework implementation in various regions of the world. As you may have guessed, there are still more angles to explore. Here I’ll discuss some societal structures that impact telework adoption as outlined in Growing the Virtual Workplace: The Integrative Value Proposition for Telework by Alain Verbeke, Nathan Greidanus, and Laura Hambley with support from the recently published Remote: Office Not Required by David Heinemeier Hansson and Jason Fried. Read more of this post

A Pictorial Representation of the Evolution of Work

Where we’ve been, where we are currently, and where we are heading as workers (pertinent to the United States in particular) as summarized in the image below. As indicated by the concluding remark, some things have a way of making a comeback. Emerging conditions necessitate and support people’s ability to act as free agents – this means cultivating a business mindset when it comes to your career. I’ll let this image tell the whole story. Read more of this post

The Robot Economy’s Less Obvious Dangers

L. P.:

Excellent points and questions raised by Jane Watson with regard to growing job insecurity and what may come out of this wave of creative destruction. I especially appreciated the section on humankind’s resiliency and how difficult it is to foresee what kind of work we’d create for ourselves. Terrific analysis!

Originally posted on Talent Vanguard:

We live in an age of job insecurity. If it wasn’t enough to be worried about being ‘restructured’ or outsourced, the recent surge in press about the robot workforce of the future gives us another reason to toss and turn at night.

“You’d better be nice to the robots”

The chatter about how many of us will be replaced by robots in the coming years has reached fever pitch of late. Some of it is rehashed fear-mongering (“Just look at what happened to the travel agents!”), but others raise provocative points about what the future of work will look like. Recent studies and analyses indicate that automation has the potential to make 45% – 70% of today’s jobs obsolete in the coming decades, and that a key competency for the employee of the future may be the ability to work alongside collaborative robots.

View original 946 more words

Coping with Job Loss and Uncertain Times

English: Job loss chart from BLS data here: ht...

English: Job loss chart from BLS data here: http://data.bls.gov/PDQ/servlet/SurveyOutputServlet?series_id=CES0000000001&output_view=net_1mth. Prelim data for Dec 2009 and Jan 2010. Made with OpenOffice.org Calc. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In a previous post, I mentioned the possibility of a future in which a greater proportion of the population work as free agents (such as described by Daniel Pink’s Free Agent Nation). Although this is an ideal that I would embrace for myself, the picture isn’t all rosy as this also means fewer secure employment opportunities being available for those who want them. The days of having a secure job at the same organization for one’s entire work-life have declined indeed, however it’s become apparent that not everyone has made the adjustment in mindset. Furthermore, there are many who are ill-prepared for, and/or don’t welcome, the difficulties associated with more autonomy and taking a more entrepreneurial approach with their careers.

Apparently, there appears to be room for debate about automation being the cause behind the decline of jobs (see Robert D. Atkinson’s post – an explanation which, I’ll admit, is new to me). In addressing a transition to a more entrepreneurial way of life however, I agree with many of the recommendations proposed by Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee, authors of Race Against the Machine. In this book, they listed changes to policies and societal infrastructures to support people as conditions necessitate a greater need to be one’s own boss – subject matter that I’ll cover in a future post.

For now however, I’d like to share some tips, videos, and articles that may prove helpful in putting you in the mind-frame to think about important steps to be taken if you happen to be dealing with job loss under these current conditions. Read more of this post

The Gig Economy: Hope for Renaissance Men and Women?

English: Self-portrait of Leonardo da Vinci. R...

Stories of young adults facing the realities of advancing in today’s work world (like this one here) bring to mind one of the worst aspects of working in the silos of the Industrial Age. Those of us who want to make a living off of our desire to excel in multiple fields are constantly reminded that having anything more than a monotonous list of the same roles on our résumé or LinkedIn profile page is the “kiss of death.” Yet, those of us who count ourselves as polymaths have experienced how expertise in one field, through providing a fresh perspective and broadened understanding, enables us to make valuable contributions to work in another. Wouldn’t it be great to live in a world where we can point to our multifaceted experiences, flexible minds, and insatiable curiosity as advantages and be taken seriously? Read more of this post

Freedom = Loyalty: Understanding the Self-Employed Mindset

Since the rise of the Industrial Age, the vast majority of the population have chosen to go with regular employment in order to make a living due to existing incentives (e.g., pensions, benefits, etc.). Since this trend has been the norm for quite some time, self-employment has become perceived as “the ugly stepchild” – something people turn to when they “can’t get a job.” It’s true that a good contingent of people are forced into this situation, however there are still many who purposely choose it. Are they crazy?

Often I’ve heard that those who prefer regular employment and those who prefer self-employment don’t understand each other. Indeed, it seems to be the case of different values, motivations, and fears. I believe this gap between those who have an employee mindset and those who have a self-employment mindset is encapsulated well by one of my favorite Aesop’s fables, “The Dog and the Wolf.” For those who are unfamiliar with this story, here it is in the video below: Read more of this post

The Office: The Future’s Green, and Orange for Uncertain

L. P.:

Professor Colin Jones provides excellent historical background and synopsis of the various forces behind the move towards a more flexible approach to office work. As he points out, there is no end in sight when it comes to widespread resistance to this new way of working. However, there are definitely some clear benefits to organizations that manage to take full advantage of information communication technology. Moreover, to the degree that commuting and expansion of office buildings is curtailed, the more potential benefit to the environment will be realized. Some commentary on potential long-term changes with regard to the office market is also provided in this post.

Originally posted on Social Policy, Housing, Environment and Real Estate blog:

The office has perhaps always been around as a place of work and administration, whether it be in a Roman palace, a room in a sixteenth century merchant’s house or purpose built buildings from the mid-nineteenth century. And in some ways today’s office is not that different from one in ancient Greece.  There is the fundamental need for a desk and a chair.  But over the last forty years information communication technology (ICT) has transformed how we use an office.  Images of an office with desks piled high with files stuffed with papers and banks of filing cabinets are not perhaps quite yet in the dustbin of history but are not as prevalent as they were even a decade ago. The ‘paperless office’ once seen as a goal to aim for is here today, it just crept up on us (although I still have an untidy desk). The next decade…

View original 794 more words

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 311 other followers

%d bloggers like this: