Tagged: politics

Ignorance is Not Bliss in an Ever-Changing World

Will you have a job next week? Next year?

Will your skill set be valued in the job market in the years to come? If not, do you know what you need to do to keep your skills up-to-date?

Over the past few decades, we have witnessed a large number of innovations that have changed how we live and work. I have been working as a digital marketing consultant for over a decade, a job that was not even dreamed of when I graduated from college. All indications show that my job will be obsolete in the next few years as automated technologies become more sophisticated.

The jobs that help people climb up are at risk as well. I put myself through college by waiting on tables. More and more kiosks are being placed on tables allowing for people to place their orders and pay their bills. This will mean that restaurants, which already run on razor-thin profit margins, will cut costs by hiring fewer servers. 

I met a retired gentleman the other day who still works as a freelance accountant. He told me what once took 5-6 people to do, he now does by himself on a part-time basis thanks to financial software enhancements.

Truck drivers need to be concerned. A self-driving semi-truck made a cross-country trip with minimal human intervention. 

Every day there is a new innovation or enhancement that will change or eliminate the jobs many of us do but most people are not paying attention.

My dad worked for one company his entire career. He was a cable repairman for the phone company and he retired for medical reasons in 1986. In all his years his job did not change much. That was the world I grew up in, a world where I watched my parents and the parents of my friends work for one or two companies without having to drastically change their skill set. Yes, there were job losses due to economic downturns or poor business habits, but the types of jobs that people performed did not go away. 

DangerUncertaintyThose who are paying attention are not doing enough to prepare. A recent study revealed that 65% of respondents agree that jobs industries will suffer because of automation, but they believe they will be fine. Only 3% of respondents were concerned about losing a job to a “robot.”

It is misleading to talk about “robots” taking our jobs because people often envision a humanoid. However, as an example, social media is currently swarming with bots. There are bots that will answer your question and bots that will grow your following, and bots that will promote your agenda, and bots that will engage on posts for you, and so on. All of those “bots” are basically code, it is not a humanoid robot behind a computer.

No matter your job, the skills needed to do it will become devalued in the near future.

Teachers are faced with a growing popularity of online classes.

Managers should be studying how platforms such as Uber are eliminating middle management.

The changes in the workforce are wreaking havoc on our political discourse. Our current political breakdown is rooted in a large segment of Americans feeling left behind, lost, and not recognizing this world that is emerging. People are scared and for good reason. A strong political leader would explain to them that the world is changing and would invest in helping people to enhance their skill set as well as begin studying what other social investments need to be made such as Universal Healthcare that would cover freelancers, students, entrepreneurs, and people who have been displaced.

Instead, we have too many leaders who pander to the dream of returning to a time when the world had fewer disruptions and jobs were safer. Politicians know they are speaking to regular people who have lives to lead and spend their days working longer hours for less pay and then spending time with friends and family. Most people are not reading about AI or Automation, they do not have the time. Unfortunately, it seems as though our politicians are more invested in talking points that will get them elected than in providing insights that will empower their citizens.

There are two main reasons why disruptive innovations will continue to accelerate and there is nothing anyone can do to stop them. The first is Capitalism, an economic system that values efficiency and cost-effectiveness. Computers will continue to outperform humans and therefore will be valued over human labor more and more. The other reason is global competition. No matter what the trade agreements are, if other countries are outperforming us technically we will lose.

If we continue to think our jobs are not at risk, if we continue to not hold our political leaders accountable for preparing our workforce for the future, if we continue to spend our time and energy wanting to go backward to a more simpler time, if we continue to stay ignorant of how rapidly the world is changing, it may become the downfall of us all.

Do Politics and Business Mix?

I was raised in a family where everyone said what they thought. My dad encouraged debate. My mom ignited debate. The best conversations I have had with my brothers were respectful debates.

When I started working in social media I was blogging about what I experienced, what I thought, what I believed. Many, well-meaning people in the business community told me I should not do that.

Over the years I have fought an internal battle of wanting to write about what I felt was important to talk about and wanting to be successful in business. After the 2016 election, I decided I needed to find my voice again. I am evolving into a political commentator as well as a business person.

I believe that for many reasons business and politics do mix.

Today, I had the opportunity to discuss that belief on my friend, Adrienne’s, podcast.

You can listen to it here.

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Politicians have mastered the messaging of labeling “the other.”

As soon as you label a person you have shut down your ability to understand them. You immediately believe you know everything about that person based on everything you know about the label you have assigned to them. Labels are a favorite tool of many politicians because they keep Americans from discussing and debating issues and policy. Instead, we play team politics and attack “the other.”

You can read more of my thoughts on this on my post, America is Being Killed by Labels

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How Worrying Almost Killed Me

It was just a Kidney stone, caused by an infection, caused by an excess of sugar, caused by me trying to comfort myself, which all landed me in the hospital with Sepsis. You can read that horrifying story on Healthcare in America. 

Read how I changed my outlook on life on my post, Don’t Worry, Be Happy – How I Plan to Survive these Turbulent Times,  in Organizer Sandbox

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I remember the unity – why are we now so divided.

10 years ago I had just returned back to work after an extended maternity leave. However, my younger son was sick on September 11 and I was home watching Good Morning America or the Today show…I saw the news break. I watched as the second plane hit the second tower. I was in another room when I heard about the crash in PA and DC.

I, like the rest of the world, was shocked and the only thing I knew was that I did not know what to expect next. I went to pick up my older son from school. I was one of many parents there picking up their kids.

I was an IT Recruiter and after September 11th, my career in that field ended. I decided to return to waiting on tables. This gave me the flexibility to be home with my son and attempt to start my own company.

Months later I was working at On The Border. I do not remember the date, but Bush had asked all Americans to light a candle to remember the victims at a specific time around sunset. It might have been the one-year anniversary – but I remember everyone was still so shocked and raw, it does not seem like a year had passed.

The restaurant was packed that night. Each table had a candle on it. At the specific time, every person left their table, walked out to the parking lot and lit their candle. Someone starting singing America the Beautiful. It was like a scene from a movie. Everyone joined in. We did not stand there as Democrats or Republicans, or Tea Partiers, or Libertarians. We did not stand there as Christian, or Jewish, or Muslim, or Hindu. We stood there as people united in grief and in love for our country.

I am sure we have not lost that unity. But we seem so determined to be divided. We want to label everyone and argue every little point. We are against ideas and plans more than we are for anything. Everyone is focused on what is being taken away from them instead of what they are willing to give for the greater good.

10 years later, I can still remember that unity and I wonder why today we are so divided.

A Few Highlights from the Election

originally posted on Concept Hub

There are enough information and unique strategies from this past election to fill college books for multiple classes.

With so many bloggers, consultants, and journalists recapping the campaign this week, I thought I would throw in my top three favorite things.

1. A little more than a week prior to the election I noticed that one of my Facebook Friends, Leatrice Elzy, had “donated her status updates” to a cause to get the vote out. I immediately donated my status updates as well. What that meant is that I chose to allow a Facebook App to update my personal status every hour until election day to remind my network to get out the vote.  I saw a report last night that called that single Facebook App the largest single online rally in history.  1,745,745 people donated their status updates sending out 4,896, 031 messages.

The success of this application was that there was very little effort on the part of the end user, I just agreed to allow the app to take over my status updates. It was viral. Because of the Facebook Newsfeed my contacts saw my status updates every time they logged in and were able to easily click on a link in my status to join the cause. The cause was for everyone, Obama supporters, McCain supporters, or simply people who wanted to “get out the vote.” And the timing was perfect. It was right before the election, not too soon where people would get tired of the campaign, but not so late where it would not have made a difference.

2.Moveon.org produced a “news” video about the single non-voter.

Every time I was able to observe someone watching their customized video for the first time I witnessed shock when they saw their name, intrigue about how that was possible, and finally entertainment of the content of the video. Even McCain supporters were sending this video around and embedding the video in their blogs.

This video had all the ingredients needed to be a successful viral video. On October 28 I received an email from Moveon.org that reported ” this nonvoter video has now been sent to over 6.3 million friends. It’s going out to more
than 30 new people per second.”

3. Finally, the success of the Obama campaign came not from the technology deployed or messages broadcasted, but from the idea that people will care and will rally around you when you allow them to own a little piece of the effort. Throughout the campaign, Barack told his supporters “This isn’t about me, it’s about you.”

Barack became one with his supporters, not above his supporters. On election night before taking the stage an email message was broadcasted  “We just made history. And I don’t want you to forget how we did it.”

Every message was individually addressed and signed simply “Barack”.

The Obama campaign understood more than the technology that powers social media, they understood the shift in how people want to be treated, empowered, and appreciated.