This is my first post 2016 US election blog and although this will not be a writing of my political views, I will focus on just how much the world of work has changed as the global economy moves from an industrialized manufacturing base on a global scale to an information sacred age where knowledge and automation have cemented their place in history. And I want to start this article off by highlighting a quote from a profound author and recently deceased thought leader, Dr. Wayne Dyer.
“One of the fundamental problems is that people want the world to be different than it is.”
What I am about to offer you, the reader, is an opinion based on my observations of 5.5 decades.
- The world of work is different now and has been for decades. First the inclusion of women, on a macro scale, in the work force revolutionized everything about work and its social mores. Then the advent of technology such as robotics transformed the traditional manufacturing sector and the labour worker, assembly line generational worker that powered the industrial revolution began to be displaced. Our collective dependence on fossil fuels has slowly been replaced by new energy sources such as wind, water, and solar…and as one sector has seen sites shut down, another can not find enough qualified people to keep up with the demand. And today, we see technology available to the public that was never before considered possible.
- Most human beings have not really adjusted well to this transformation, at least not over the first 35 years. As the world of work has migrated from hand labour to brain labour, from human effort to robotics and computer technologies, traditional industries and the generations of employees who served in them proudly have been casualties. And although it is easy for us to read, in our history books, about the eras that have come and gone, we are living this history right now. How do you explain to a family of coal miners who live in a one company town that they need to go to college now and get an education in order to make a living when all they have known is the fruit of their own labour.
- The displaced are empowered nonetheless. As we have all witnessed from the results of the most recent US election, the victor was successful based on the vote of rural, non-college educated men and women, many of whom are likely in the demographic of the forgotten and not so silent minority. And although, for many, the global transformation of the work world has been a positive one, there is a very strong voice that says to the masses….”you forgot us.”
- The transformation has a long road ahead. If the world is to move forward and progress is to take hold, where the masses benefit from the transition instead of a select few, then something has to give. Like a company moving from one service delivery model to another, the people who got that company to the place of transition can not just be pushed to the side as casualties or displaced workers. They are contributors, people who have given their time and energy, to the cause of profitability and pride. Let us all do a better job in realizing their value, and recognizing our efforts to include them.
The world is the way that it is because we, the global population, have decided so. The world can be different, however, if we choose collectively and wisely. The world can be a more friendly, more peaceful, more meaningful, more inclusive and more progressive world if we take a moment to reflect, much like we do annually for those that gave their lives in war, on where the next 35 years will take us and what future generations will read in their history books when they look back upon this period in our human history.