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

A retired Air Force Master Sergeant, Mike used to lay in bed at night and worry about what would happen if his plant closed or found himself without a job. One day his plant closed. Rather than panic and hysteria (OK, maybe a little) Mike found himself carried away on the adventure of his life. Mike started with the best job he ever had working at Home Depot. He spent 8 years working with job seekers at a local workforce center, helping them to find employment. He then started his own company developing courses, writing books and urging others to follow their own paths into the future. Mike holds a Master of Arts in Adult Education and Training and a Bachelor of Business Management, earned through the University of Phoenix and an AAS degree in Electronics Systems Technology from the Community College of the Air Force. Mike is a member of the Delta Mu Delta Business Honor Society.

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