Quality Progress - June 2014 - (Page 48)

CAREER CORNER BY RUSSELL T. WESTCOTT Survival Instincts Eat or be eaten in today's job market "Every morning in Africa, a gazelle required skills, knowledge and certifica- facilitating change, I confess that I exhibit wakes up knowing it must run faster tions. These are symptoms of a changed some resistance to substantially altering than the fastest lion or be killed. Every professional landscape. While there are my familiar lifestyle. morning, a lion awakens knowing it several possible root causes of unem- must outrun the slowest gazelle or starve ployment, one of the easiest to remedy mented an option to buy groceries online to death. It doesn't matter if you are a involves updating individual knowledge, and pick them up at a station outside or lion or a gazelle-when the sun comes up skills and experience. Are you running yet have them delivered. It's unclear whether you'd better be running." or are you still asleep? customers will buy more or less using this 1 I am continually amazed and disturbed Recently, my local supermarket imple- new service. Self-checkout counters have AN OMINOUS OPENING, I admit, but that a number of my friends and col- been in place for a number of years and doesn't this passage ring true in the world leagues do nothing to sharpen their skills have replaced friendly and helpful people we live in? For individuals and organiza- or enrich their knowledge. Continuous to a degree. Now, only one employee is tions, the hard-knock economy takes its toll learning is a must in today's professional needed to assist and instruct the occasion- on basic survival. Even as unemployment jungle. Complacency and procrastination al technology-challenged buyer. Comput- claims slowly decline, we hear about the are your deadly enemies. Watching TV for erized checkout confuses some customers thousands who gave up looking for a job. hours each day does provide a drizzle of and forces others to wait in long lines at useful information, but it is a poor substi- the remaining full-service counters oper- crunch, employers have learned how to tute for studying or learning something ated by cashiers. survive with fewer people on the payroll. new and useful. Although I earnestly work Rapid technology advances have lessened at learning something new each day, I ad- ping, while entirely feasible, will flop."2 the need for lower-level, nontechnical po- mit that the rapidly changing technology Well then, allow me to get back in line sitions and increased the need for highly used to gather, access and store informa- where a friendly human will greet me with trained and skilled workers. We hear of tion presents ongoing challenges for me. a smile. The self-checkout lines some- Because of the long-lasting economic critical shortages of qualified employ- I grew up in the ancient world of In 1966, Time declared: "Remote shop- times appear more jammed than lines for ees, while thousands of former workers punch-card tabulation and progressed cashier service. As I write this, I realize remain unemployed for not having the into the mainframe computer realm. I that a learning opportunity is passing me stumbled my way into the chaotic domain by. I probably should learn how to use of PCs, and now I am being pulled (kicking and screaming) into the exploding maze of self-checkout before all the staffed counters disappear. A friend of mine spent much of his hold-it-in-your-hand work life in the auto repair industry until and store-it-all-in-a- a few years ago. He bounced around the cloud era of IT. industry as auto dealers downsized or As I sputter and evaporated until he was eventually laid fume about my com- off as a parts-room supervisor. Finding a puter's relentless pursuit job in the same field was unrealistic. But to drive me crazy, I can still he needed a solution quickly because he remember horse-drawn wagons provided food and a home for a family of peddling milk, bread, produce, meat, ice and knife sharpening, four and his savings were dwindling. Instead of being drawn into a quagmire and their welcome arrival to my home. Although I'm in a business of 48 QP * www.qualityprogress.com of debt and despair, my friend explored another option: What would it take to http://www.qualityprogress.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Quality Progress - June 2014

Up Front
LogOn
Expert Answers
Keeping Current
Mr. Pareto Head
No Weak Links
Need for Speed
Solid Base
Insurance Policy
3.4 per Million
Quality in the First Person
Career Corner
Statistics Roundtable
2014 Software Showcase and Directory
QP Toolbox
QP Reviews
Back to Basics

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