Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Could this be you?

A recent discussion with a friend motivated me to write an insightful narrative for you to ponder.

My friends, when it comes to your work life who is in control of your destiny?

When you first enter the job market as a young adult you'll find yourself working side-by-side with people of all ages. At first, you might consider them to be dinosaurs or maybe mentors or someone to learn from.

It has become clear to me that technology is moving so fast that many of these senior employees have fallen behind. What do you do with senior employees who have fallen behind? You can promote them to positions of incompetence or in today's environment lay them off. How many times have you seen this in your work place.

Being a curious person, I have to ask who’s at fault? The aforementioned senior employee is now at a point of incompetence and no longer has the knowledge base and / or the respect of other employees who have been raised in the digital age.

I bring this up because I think it is important to realize how the perceived dinosaur falls behind and how quickly this will become you if you’re not proactive.

Case in point. In my experience as a full-time staff photojournalist of 20 years, I never attended a workshop or seminar that could be duded “employee development.”

If I wanted to learn new technology or be involved in industry workshops, it was left to me to bear the full financial burden of the education that would benefit me and my employer. A typical seminar or workshop could cost as low as 800 and up to 2000 dollars depending on its location and time commitment.

Sadly, where I worked employee development fell to the wayside and was never a priority with corporate leadership. No motivation or reimbursement what so ever.

There was no way I could afford to go to workshops or do any other proactive industry development courses. So you can’t help but to fall farther and farther behind as the years pass and all while the parent company is expanding its brand by making multimillion dollar acquisitions.

While you make just enough to keep your family fed and fuel in your car, you’re losing money and making yourself less marketable with every year that passes. To compound the problem the company might buy a new computer system and not update the software. It’s great at first but after 5 plus years the system is so outdated modern software will no longer work on the machine.
It is at this point the overly confident intern comes in with his or hers state of the art laptop computer loaded with the newest software, new cameras and a basic understanding of just about everything relevant to your job. The only thing they lack is the experience. When the intern is working for practically free or in some cases totally free experience comes pretty fast.

As the technology you’re forced to use at work becomes old so does your worth. At least today you can turn to the internet and learn from users in the public domain who teach for free.

Next time you look at a senior employee and wonder why he is so disconnected, I wouldn’t judge but ask yourself could this be me in not so far off future.


cameratakesphotos said...

I was thinking about the same issue about a week ago when we were discussing the topic of little kids and the incredibly fast rate that they pick up technology (and the subsequent social issues developed by a lack of "real" human contact in this technology). Anyways, all I could think about the whole conversation was how far behind them I will be in 20 years, even if I am proactive. I already feel far behind not having had classes/workshops on CS4, final cut, etc. I do what I can to teach myself, but it leaves me still missing things.

Brad Armstrong said...

Agreed! You work at a job 8 to 10 hours a day. When are you supposed to invest in yourself. It's very difficult when all you want to do is take a break.

Brad Armstrong said...

By the way hanks for the comment Sarah. Hope you had a good holiday.

Tony said...

Dear Mister Brontosaurus,

Thanks for the great blog.