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September 17, 2018

Perspectives of an Evolving Worker

The author in a "democratized learning and teaching" session on "Take Your Dog to Work Day."
Infographics are great communication tools. I really enjoy creating them, and as a marketer I've seen great results from them. (In a future post I'll share more of this experience.) For example, here's a cool one that I stumbled across on a topic we can all relate to.
As a good communication should, it got me thinking: just how much has changed in the practice of being employed? What was work really like during the pre-email, pre-smart phone, pre-WWW era? Mostly for fun, let's ask someone who's been there: me.
Work 9-5 vs. anytime.Believe me, arriving early or staying late is nothing new. I once stained my cubicle's carpet by taking a slice of pizza from a carton and instantly dropping it face-down as I slumped into my chair from exhaustion. It was 2:00 a.m. and I was in a marathon proofing session in Aldus PageMaker. I rolled over that stain for years. And taking work home is hardly new either. Briefcases weren't just for unmarked bills and brown paper bags.
Work in a corporate office. "Work" and "home" were once distinct locations. No longer. I first "worked from home" in the mid 90's, connecting to email periodically via dial-up modem. I'm still conflicted over this. Work from home is a good option to have, but it's certainly fuzzed up the whole idea of work/life balance.
Company equipment. I think we're oversimplifying this. Policies here are all over the map, but there are certainly more options now than before.
Focused on inputs vs. outputs. Like, chickens vs. eggs?
Climb the corporate ladder or create your own? Yes to both. I've also learned that ladder making demands certain skills, some of which I possess.
Pre-defined work vs. customized. Maybe I should read the book.
Hoards information vs. shares. This has far more to do with human behavior and personality types than employee evolution.
No voice vs. can become a leader. I don't recall never having a voice. On the other hand, nepotism and cronyism are still very much with us.
Relies on email vs. collaboration technologies. Lotus Notes, anyone?
Knowledge vs. adaptive learning. Look at the infographic symbols: one implies confusion, the other graduation or completion. But isn't this more about the quality of the student?
Corporate vs. democratized learning and teaching. I'm guessing this is about institutionalized learning vs. people learning from each other. And I suspect it's also about budget cuts for institutionalized training. Fortunately, we've alwaysbeen learning from our co-workers; sometimes for the better.
It's great to make things faster, more adaptable, and more efficient. But while technologies and customs change, willing and dedicated people who overcome obstacles and achieve goals are among the workforce's greatest assets, and always have been.
Some things haven't evolved: work is really about people.

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