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One machine can do the work of fifty ordinary men…

“…No machine can do the work of one extraordinary man.” – Elbert Hubbard

The age of outsourcing is well upon us. But it doesn’t mean you and/or your position are next in line for replacement.

Not long ago, a billboard in Silicon Valley read: “1,000,000 people can do your job.  What makes you so special?” This is a question worth asking because it’s a reality we all face, but one many shroud in denial. 

Regardless of our goals, some form of employment (self-employed or not) is critical for sustaining a quality lifestyle.  It’s no wonder why so many people are nervous about their future – and rightly so. We won’t emerge from this global economical shift in an ever “stable” job environment.

The mentality of, “I have a degree and a lot of work experience, so I have job security” is not only brash, but ignorant.  In the past, a college degree and trade-skills were viewed as a form of currency.  Now, however, as basic education expands worldwide, more and more people (and machines) are capable of performing the majority of jobs available.

Like many market shifts, there are both positive and negative effects, but much of the negative press surrounding outsourcing stems from those who would rather complain than adjust.

As important as analytical and mechanical skill-sets are, they are also most easily outsourced because they are most easily defined, taught, and learned. Conventional education thrives in delivering these types of skills (hence the number of college-educated individuals struggling to get a job), but the result is an increase in competition and delegation to the lowest bidder (a competition for minimum wage).

If analytical and mechanical skill-sets are primarily left-brain skills then it makes sense to examine the increasing importance of right-brain skills. Hence, the future belongs to those who learn and master more right-brain abstract skills-sets such as creativity, problem solving, resourcefulness, communication, leadership, and relationship building – this is the repertoire of the new-age ‘artist.’ And ‘artist’ is the opposite of ‘machine.’

We are shifting from a linear and highly structured age, to a more abstract era – one which demands the esoteric characteristics of our top-right gray-matter – an era where recognizing, understanding, and shaping concepts, trends, and the interconnectedness of the ‘big picture’ serve a profound function.

The era of ‘knowledge workers’ is being replaced by the rise of the creative class – individuals who think in a non-linear, non-binary fashion. After all, why compete with the work a machine can do? Knowledge workers will always be needed, but creative workers will occupy the director’s chair.

In some form, we are all producers of art and duly need to view both our “approach” to work and our “output” accordingly.  In an age where creativity is an ascending currency, those who flex their right-brain skill-sets will have a clear advantage over those who do not.

Be a Maverick,

– Kent

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