February 5, 2024

The 3-Headed Change Monster


Partner at Hirewell. #3 Ranked Sarcastic Commenter on LinkedIn.

It’s a lot to take in all at once.

The 3-headed change monster of Remote Work, Degrees, and AI. They’re hitting workers – especially young workers – at the same time.

This isn’t a “kids these days have it harder” piece. But looking back at when my career started, there was a lot more clarity in your day job.

Go to college. Become an Office Dork™️. Work a defined role. Grind.

Tech innovated slowly. No one’s job fundamentally changed overnight.

Now we have to consider:

👉Remote Work an How-Do-I-Learn-Anything?

An academic study came out a few weeks ago that office returns haven’t made companies more money. Yet they’re still pushing it. And it’s killed workplace morale. Here.

Now, there *are* valid reasons for onsite work. Especially with junior workers. Onsite training is easier because osmosis learning is real. (I’ve discussed that here.)

You can either work remote and not learn as much. Or go onsite and learn from senior people who don’t want to be there.

(The ‘fix’ is we need to move toward results-based work policies and investing remote L&D. Another rant for another day.)

👉Degrees and Do-We-Even-Pay-For-This?

Let’s be honest: the generation doesn’t matter. Few of us use the degrees we paid for. We learned more on the job in the first 3 months than we did in 4 years.

But Boomers and Gen X didn’t have to mortgage their entire future for it. Millennials got the short end of the stick. Gen Z (and future generations) need to ask serious questions if it’s even worth it.

I said “few” of us, because those who do use their degrees tend to be in more scientific and technical fields. Doctors, engineers, software developers, etc.

When it comes to technical Office Dorks™, does that even matter?

From Business Insider: “Between 2017 and 2019 employers cut degree requirements for 46% of middle-skill and 31% of high-skill jobs, which have been most pronounced in finance, business management, engineering, and health care occupations.” Here.

IBM, Accenture, Bank of America, and Google are examples of companies where more and more job openings no longer require degrees.

“But James, how do people learn technical skills?”

Glad you asked. Look at Google. They’re doing their own classes in Cybersecurity, Data Analytics, Project Management, etc. Here.

Office-based technical skills are becoming trade skills. 

👉AI and What-Do-I-Even-Focus-On-Now?

AI isn’t new. Social algos have been using it all along. But now widely available and cheap to create. Tech innovation will happen faster than ever. (Making jobs irrelevant faster than ever.)

There’s a lot of people who specialize in things where specialization won’t be needed. How do you even plan for that when you’re a noob?

The sky isn’t falling. But the weather is changing. 

Partner at Hirewell. #3 Ranked Sarcastic Commenter on LinkedIn.

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