If you work in an office I don’t think you have to have a degree in sociology to realise something is “going on”. We are going through something that is challenging basic beliefs and values in the office setting.
I think about the world of office work twenty years from now. I am not into science fiction but what I am writing “feels” a bit like that.
The youngsters of today ….. And by that I mean six and seven year olds ……have keyboards as extensions to their fingers. It is amazing to try and predict the world of office based work for them. When I think back 20 years in my career it is simply unrecognisable from today.
The days of rationality and having lots of time to debate issues have gone. Of course many people want things to move at the more leisurely pace they have become accustomed to in their career. The snag is the demands are different. We used to work in a situation where the customer did not drive the process. The customer responded to the foibles of the organisation. The customer today is calling the shots and is, in fact, in charge. And, by the way, the customer wants it now
Our children are being brought up surrounded by massive leaps of technological advance that do feel like science fiction …they are going to arrive on the work scene ten years from now with a totally different view of the world to mine; They are going to be more inquisitive They are going to bring new skills to the workplaceThey are going to challenge the way things have been done in the past
They are going to develop a new language that some of us “veterans” will find hard to speak never mind understand. Yes of course they are also going to make mistakes … but the mistakes they will be making will be “new mistakes” not repeating the old mistakes that I made and my father made.
I wonder how many youngsters (20 and under) of 2005 will retire having been on the payroll of just one organisation. The days have gone too when one’s effectiveness is judged by how long you stayed on the payroll. I suspect that the career of the future will be largely determined by the needs and wishes of the individual in the white collar world, rather than the opportunities presented to them by large organisations.
In summary, my feeling is we should “get on the bus” (Tom Peters) and be prepared for a bumpy ride for the next few years …. But learn to enjoy the bumpy ride – the smooth ride is an option only for those who wish to remain asleep.