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VOL. 35 | NO. 29 | Friday, July 22, 2011
Get a job!

Adapting to change no longer an option

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In the 1970s, a book titled Future Shock described a world of rapid change with consequential impact on everyone and everything. That world is now here in ways the author could never have imagined.

To succeed, those in today’s workforce must be prepared to adapt to change throughout their careers. Those who do not will become stagnant and find themselves in less demand by employers. If laid off in the present economy, getting hired again in a good position may be near impossible if you have not trained in the latest innovations.

The consequence of not keeping up with change is nothing new. At the beginning of World War II, the Polish army had what many at the time considered the greatest cavalry in the world. Unfortunately, armed men on horseback had little chance against the tanks and firepower of the innovative and technologically superior German blitzkrieg. The Polish men and horses were slaughtered in attack after attack, and their government surrendered in a matter of weeks.

The Allies eventually prevailed by developing newer and better technologies along with improved military tactics and overwhelming force.

Though the working world rarely has such tragic results by not staying up with the latest innovations, not adapting can make the difference in a business making a profit or filing for bankruptcy.

Most organizations want employees who can help them keep up with or put them ahead of the competition. Many of them have training programs to support their employees in this endeavor.

If you are fortunate enough to have an employer who offers educational programs, take advantage. It is not necessary to take every class or seminar, just those that are relevant to your career and interests.

If desired courses are not available directly through your employer, look at outside institutions and request reimbursement from your employer. If reimbursement is not available, don’t be too cheap to pay for courses that will keep you in the forefront of your occupation.

If your employer is not progressive or does not have the resources to pay for training programs then set up your own program. Determine what topics are the best for your career. Sometimes they may be indirectly related but will eventually pay dividends.

For instance, if you were in marketing in the early1980s, taking a course on how to use a personal computer may have seemed like a waste of time. Today you would wonder how someone could have considered not taking the course.

There also are plenty of books and information you can find on the Internet for a self-directed education program if you don’t have time for after-work classes.

Benefits abound for those who keep up with change.

Those at the top of their game typically earn more money. Employers want progressive employees and will usually pay to get them and keep them.

Keeping up will provide you with greater opportunity. And, not only in your present job, but also for finding jobs with other employers, even in alternative industries.

Another unseen benefit is you will not feel left behind. As you grow older, there is often a tendency to become comfortable in you position and not venture into new territories. As the years pass, you might begin to feel the younger employees know more than you about new technologies and societal nuances. Don’t let that happen.

Now, more than ever, because of the rapid changes taking place in technology and society, keeping up has become a necessity. Stay at the top of your game with a continuous education effort.

M.B. Owens is a Nashville-based columnist and journalist with a decade of experience writing on employment topics and business. He can be reached at mariusowens@aol.com.

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