Changes are afoot. Tomorrow I'll most likely have news of some new training I'll be getting in anticipation of a fairly abrupt career change maybe a couple years down the road.
As far the American workforce is concerned, we are at an interesting juncture, and I think some of the only really secure professional fields are and will remain in the service industry. Couple that with a marketplace in which fewer and fewer young folk are imbued with anything like a reliable work ethic, and I think things are really going to take a tumble in our economy. I have seen several fields where the old hands have been fired to facilitate the hiring of two others with ages halved and experience and work ethic at below ground-level. The tragedy here is that the older worker may be more expensive, close to retirement, etc., but an experienced and reliable longtime worker is worth more than the sum of their parts.
I was talking to a girlfriend who got laid off from her graphic design job a few months ago. She's been working in her field for 30 years and has taken computer graphics courses routinely to keep up with the march of technology. When I first met her - mid- 80's, she worked in the art department for a newspaper that was changing over to computer-based graphic layout/design. I remember walking through the newsroom with her, and her mentioning to me later how all those typesetter guys were an endangered species-- wondering what would become of these guys who had news ink in their blood and who had worked steadily, stalwartly for decades. People doing that kind of work went in to work in the evening and worked into the wee hours to get the paper to your door by 5 or 6 am. She and I were talking recently about her layoff, and I asked about the typesetters, asking if she remembered that. She said "I think of those guys every day." She said that after the paper set up with computers for layout/graphics, that the typesetters were all gone in a matter of months. That was about 23 years ago, and now a new cycle has come around. I think the kids they are hiring today are going to enjoy an even shorter lifespan with their current, computer-based design careers because their current skills will merit dinosaur status in a decade. Or two years. Or 6 months.
I understand that we need to march forward with technology, but I have serious reservations about an economy in which the august workhorses are put out to pasture prematurely in favor of fresh horses who may not have the backbone to hoe the row when things get really tough. I don't know where this will all end up, but I know I have to change or be left in the dust, so I'll just do what I can to adapt, react and kick some ass.
Watch this space.