Aging has its challenges. The physical ones we’ve all heard about are well documented. And though not all conquered, they are at least, by-and-large understood.
There’s a tragedy I’ve had a front row seat to recently. I’ve written about it some and it’s also fairly well known. Well .. I guess I’d say it’s well known from a distance. By that I mean that the emotional and tactical movements associated with it are not easily discerned. We see numbers. We hear about trends. But I deal with people.
It has to do with the obsolescence of job- and life-skills. I’ll say it in personal terms, as I process the new stuff:
While I know I work in a technical area where things move fast, I also know that if I sit on the bleeding edge of the latest technical development, I will 1) bleed and 2) wastefully invest about 60-75% of my energy in things that never “pan out” in the marketplace, and thus, the work place.
But, if I go to the other extreme and ignore all new developments, I will miss the 25-40% of those which will radically change the job I do and will do.
There is also a raw skill gap. I don’t necessarily have the ability to lean, adapt and acquire. It’s often a question about how much time and energy I can and will give to learning. I may sink into the false conclusion that I cannot learn. I’m thankful to not ever live in that state very long.
Every field has developments. As I’ve written before, if you drive nails, you likely have a pneumatic nail gun at this writing. If not, you better be doing finish carpentry or something specialized, because you are outgunned.
I’m writing again about some people I know some people who never picked up a nail gun. They never thought it necessary, or couldn’t or just won’t. The details about why it hasn’t happened and isn’t happening really don’t matter.
It hasn’t. They are now over-employed; paid too much for the work they do and are without a strategy to get to a better place. And as far as their work is concerned, they are spectators and commentators.
And they’re angry with the reluctant hatchet man whose job it is to report on their unproductive and inefficient work. No one likes that job, but as they say, someone has to do it.
It’s that person’s job to fundamentally change their work world and … They. do. not. like. it.
It’s a scripted drama really, and there will eventually be some third party intervention.
Now there are those who’ve decided to learn and acquire. They are a joy to watch.
Thing is, I love these people. All of them. It’s devastating to watch and I’m glad it is. Woe to me if it wasn’t.
And it won’t last forever like this; it’s not sustainable.
So I’d offer advice to any generation to comet because a chunk of my generation either never had it or never heeded it:
Never stop acquiring life skills.
Never get comfortable with what you think is important to know or to do.
If you even think you see a dead-end ahead, take the steps, side-steps, back-steps, over-steps, whatever .. to avoid it. Because a real dead-end is hard.
Proverbs 22:29 Do you see a man skilled in his work? He will serve before kings; he will not serve before obscure men.
I’ve read that many times and I know that skill is not static. It is the result of an ongoing pursuit of one’s craft as it applies to the world, which changes all the time. If that’s hard to hear, I will say what I say to myself – get over it, and get used to it.