Some truths are universal, and they will never change.

One of the greatest things that we are going to have to learn soon and many smart people have already learned now is self-determination. It used to be that manufacturing, whether it be the wool industry, cotton textiles in America, early watchmaking or weapons manufacturing for settlers and the military required a vast army of workers both skilled and unskilled to build the quantities of finished products required. Automation, taking the place of workers, is not new. It was always sought by the best and the brightest of manufacturing.

The desire to build something cheaper, faster, or better has lived with us since the first product was made and sold. In our own colonial days, a rifle was sold by the purchaser piling up pelts next to the rifle stock, standing on end, until the gun and pelts were of equal height. One pile pelts for one rifle. The traders got smart fast and built rifles with longer barrels to maximize their profits.

The watch, which until around 1850 was too costly for most people, was affordable to almost everyone once the small gears and other parts became mass-produced. At the cost of only $13, rather than hundreds of dollars, the watch could then be purchased for military personnel, anyone needing to synchronize with railroads or children, mainly young men who were given the watch as a sign they were going to go places.

The fact is if somebody or something does a job better than you, faster than you, or smarter than you unless you are an outlier, you are not going to be able to take their job away from them. If you are an outlier, you’re probably not going to try to take that job away. Mainly because you know better.

You need to work on what you can do better. Better than others, better than computers, better than the present technology. If you can do this, you will probably be able to have jobs continuously. There are some catches involved.

If you want a job or series of jobs that you can count on you need to be an outlier. Outliers are not followers. Outliers are the people that others follow. Outliers do so because they are driven, not because someone is driving them. Outliers are like the young cadets at the Air Force Academy. Cadets are told the first day they came to the Academy, I’m sure most days after that, that they cannot go through the Academy for anybody else. Cadets must go through the Air Force Academy for themselves. If cadets don’t want to put up with the Academy’s rigid standards, and hard work, they will not be able to survive the riggers, just because somebody else wants them to. The same is true of outliers.

What do outliers do? Outliers figure out what they’re good at and what they like to do. Outliers learn everything they can about their profession and stay abreast of all current trends, usually setting those trends. Outliers never follow the crowd, they lead the crowd. Outliers never worry about being alone or lonely, because leaders rarely find themselves along, everyone else is looking to follow them.

Jobs will change. 

Times will change.

Needs will change.

People will change.

Some truths are universal, and they will never change.

Author: Mike Balof

Director Mike Balof, M Ed, develops intensive, interactive courses for contract manufacturing and nonprofit institutions. He taught youth and adults seeking employment to represent better themselves, leading many of them to successful careers. Mike taught in corporate training, teaching adults and high school students to build computers, work as a team, and identify and fix problems using a myriad of tools from Total Quality Management(TQM), to 8-D, to Six Sigma. Now, Mike turns his talents to helping businesses and individuals reach their objectives and desires through continuous performance improvement. As we start to live in a post knowledge world, where a doubling of common knowledge shrinks from moths to days, our essential skills will include how we interact with those around us. Knowledge will already be everywhere and changing too fast to stake a particular claim. Mike believes there is hope for growth and opportunity for everyone from each years’ School dropouts to the retired baby boomers to retool and find a new career. Mike strives to present students of all ages, abilities and means with a full plate of options for learning from free and nearly free courses widely available today on the internet, and to other significant alternatives to the deep debt that so many students end up owing for education.

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