3rd of 3 parts
My extended absence from the Zoomer blogosphere can be explained. Holly and I have been away on the most wonderful Italian vacation for the past two weeks that was part work and part play. I hope to talk about it in my next couple of entries. Italy is a fascinating country with so many diverse and historic areas, and Italians (at least the ones we met) were generally warm and friendly. I’ll have much more to say, including plans for another trip that some of you may be interested in. But first, I wanted to conclude a discussion regarding the pace of technological advance, and its impact on customers, businesses, and (now) lastly employees.
In summary, my first instalment related a discussion my father and I shared about his recent 15-minute dialogue with a computer, and our subsequent marvel at how far things had come since the business we used to be involved with computerized in the 1980’s. The second discussed the relentless removal of human capital out of customer service businesses.
This last piece will focus on what has been and will continue to be one of the hottest topics facing Zoomers today – employment.
As has been reported in some news sources, the latest wave of recovery has left a deposit on the beach - displaced workers, making this yet another ‘jobless recovery’. As such, the consumer is still skittish, uncertain about her prospects.
“You can’t unwind a clock...” as the saying goes, therefore it would be irresponsible financially to suggest that businesses replace their voicemail systems with telephone operators and message pads. Similarly, email, instant messaging, and Skype have put thousands of posties, letter carriers, couriers (truck and bicycle-based) and bulldogs out of work, and I’m not advocating to have any of them back. Does our government have a duty to retrain and redeploy victims of technological advance? I’m going to be asking that question a lot, and looking for answers.
At CARP today, I hear directly and indirectly about the chronic UNDERUTILIZATION of our generation. Many thousands, who have been sidelined for a myriad of reasons -professional, personal, economic and health, are looking for something to do. They want or need to stay engaged and contributing to their wealth and that of society. I occasionally meet with a few of them to gather insights about their ambitions, fears and passions. The stories are as diverse as the people. We started the “Ambassador” program at CARP to help those people who may fall into this situation, or simply be “permanent entrepreneurs”, earn a little extra money and capitalize on some of their free time, and hopefully we give them some tools to empower a little entrepreneurial spirit so that they can turn a little into as much as they want as the program continues.