Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Katrina Could Dampen Automation Drive

Hurricane Katrina, which opened America's eyes to unseen poverty, could motivate business and government to re-think the rapid shift to all-automatic solutions in the workplace. While increased productivity is an obvious plus, it's equally obvious that America as third-world country -- with millions of poor unemployed -- just won't work. Even if it could, few want to live in such a place.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Awareness: Key to Business, Job and Career Success in Hyper-Human Economy

Who said this:

"Let us not look back in anger or forward in fear, but around in awareness."

Was it -

  • John Kennedy?
  • Pope Paul?
  • Martha Stewart?
  • James Thurber?
  • Clint Eastwood?

Any of them might have; James Thurber, the late great humorist, did. It's good advice ... one of the 10 key skills needed for success in an economy that is automating much of what we do with our heads.

Conscious awareness will be gained by technology very slowly if ever. If well-honed, observation makes any human more valuable. The more aware or perceptive we are, the better we can --

  • Notice problems and opportunities
  • Keep focused on what needs doing NOW
  • Keep ourselves and others safe and secure
  • Enjoy work and daily life
  • Generate the enthusiasm that makes others want to follow

As Thurber observed, looking back in anger robs one of present-moment energy; so does looking back in regret or even satisfaction (if overdone). A right-now focus is the key to success and fulfillment.

Living too much in the future also enervates the present -- whether the future focus is one of fear, resignation, or anticipation.

Three key practices help to concentrate the laser force of one's perception:

  1. Stop drifting into the past or future. Of course it pays to examine the past and plan ahead; but excessive time spent in either domain tends to draim one's vitality. When you find yourself drifting, bring yourself back by the scruff of the neck.
  2. Become physically more active. Move, talk, listen, try things out, accomplish. Engage all your senses; and use all your motor capabilities, large-muscle to small.
  3. Engage your emotions and mind in healthy ways. Even entertain anger about the past and fear of the future, but do so pro-actively; get to the bottom of things, then get them behind you and move on.

The basic idea is to take conscious control of your perception and motor abilities. See, hear, feel, and move more aggressively. Be a vital part of "right now."

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Your future can be global
- Photo courtesy of NASA
Make it so ... Read MIND OVER TECHNOLGY

Friday, April 01, 2005

MIND OVER TECHNOLOGY book now FREE in eBook form (through 4/30/05)

I've decided to offer my book on off-peopling FREE (in eBook form) from now througn end of April. Anyone can download it at www.eranova.com/ebook-free.htm ... or by clicking a link on the EraNova Institute home page: www.eranova.com.

My objective is to spread the word about off-peopling, and how to manage it, as quickly as possible. So feel free to forward the eBook to others once you download it.

Already the press has started to notice off-peopling. (Automation has been acknowledged for some time, but its human impact has been largely overlooked. Hence the need for a new term, "off-peopling.")

- CNET
- Christian Science Monitor
- Minneapolis Star Trubune
- Misc. coverage
Please download the eBook and spread it around virally. We need to get the off-peopling issue into more newspapers and onto more blogs ... and on Leno, Letterman, Charile Rose, Oprah ... and then into discussions in Washington, state houses, corporate board rooms ...

Once off-peopling is acknowledged as a problem, we can discuss creative solutions. Unseen, off-peopling is leading us in very bad directions. But that doesn't have to continue.

Good jobs don't need to keep on going away ... the world doens't have to keep moving in self-destructive directions. We can re-direct off-peopling for our common benefit ... and enjoy an unprecedented future of abundance, creativity, discovery, and joy in living.

The second half of the book gives the "hyper-human solution" to off-peopling, with practical, immediate steps that individuals and companies can take. There's a case history of one company that used hyper-human methods to multiply its size and profitability in short order, without layoffs. In fact, they delighted their employees by empowering them in exciting new ways ... and started hiring like crazy.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

To Survive in the New Workplace, Be Ethical

See the timely article in the 3/30/05 Christian Science Monitor: "Only the ethical need apply." Highlighting the off-peopling trend, it suggests that ethical behavior is a key job requirement in the information-age -- something computers can't replace.

Moral: To be irreplaceable if not prosperous, be ethical. This behavior will become more critical as technology and society advance.


Cartoon by Scott Wallace

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Knowledge Worker Wealth Gap Seems Wide -- Study Planned

Confirming an earlier reading of our straw poll, on 3/19, the latest reading suggests that knowledge workers may be falling into a wealth-gap trap: many getting either rich or poor, with fewer doing just okay. This will be explored in a study planned by EraNova Institute (www.eranova.com).

In the straw poll, knowledge workers were asked to rate themselves as currently POOR (not earning enough to pay the bills), MIDDLE (earning enough to get by), or RICH (earning enough to save and splurge).

With 170 people responding, the results as of this writing are --

  • 27.1%: POOR
  • 47.6%: MIDDLE
  • 25.3%: RICH
  • More than one in four are telling us they're not making enough to live on. This makes me wonder if we're moving toward a rich-poor economy, in knowledge work as well as society as a whole. EraNova's formal study will investigate whether the wealth gap is increasing among the highly educated in the U.S., as it has been among the general population. If it is, then changes of many types will be indicated -- in social policy, education, business management, and career pursuit by individuals.

    The prevaling assumption is that higher-level skills will fix our employment problems. If you've been laid off, just upgrade yourself at a community college or grad school. But what if that assumption's wrong? What if, as many high-tech people with PhD's are telling us, there's a wealth gap no matter what your skill level?

    A widening knowledge-worker wealth gap, if confirmed by the EraNova study, may be one result of "off-peopling." Now gaining notice in the technical press, off-peopling is simply automation with a name that suggests the human impact. Automation (or off-peopling) affects employment much more strongly than offshoring or outsourcing. While a widening wealth gap has been viewed with alarm by many economists, highly-skilled knowledge workers have been considered relatively immune to the squeeze on the middle class.

    The study will be managed by EraNova's research director, Anthony Spina. Holding a PhD in Human & Organizational Systems, Spina is a former research manager for AT&T, and lectures on business and social change. With an advisory panel drawn from universities, corporations, and professional associations, EraNova will also seek collaboration with the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

    The straw poll is still active. CLICK HERE to take it and see the latest tallies.

    Friday, March 25, 2005

    Knowledge Worker: Are You Rich ... or Poor?

    CLICK HERE to take the poll and see the results.

    California Knowledge Workers, Working Poor

    A Northern California woman recently wrote us about the plight of "working poor" in her area. I have divided her comments by topic:

    WHAT IS YOUR SITUATION?

    I just finished balancing our family budget and it's sad to say that we are barely making it. We are $5.00 short, if we were to really tighten the belt. God forbid one of the cars goes out; well, we will have to ask the family for a loan.
    ARE THERE LUXURIES YOU COULD DO WITHOUT?
    We don't live extravagant lives. Our budget does not allow for such things as entertainment nor clothing. Just the basics (mortgage, car payment, utilities, etc.). We want to buy clothing? It's off to the Goodwill.
    IF YOU HAD MORE EDUCATION, WOULD THAT HELP?
    By what I have writen you may say that my husband and I are holding down jobs at McDonalds or Wal-Mart, but no. We are white-collar workers. My husband is in sales and I work for a university. We both have degrees. Our combined incomes come to less than $50,000. We live in Sacramento, California, and own our home. Our budget does not allow for things like vacations, new glasses, sports for our 10-year-old son, etc. We live modestly in a 1000 square-foot "cottage." We have a new Honda Civic (we know nothing of cars, so we went new and are good about maintaining it so that it lasts us) and a 20-year-old Volvo (still going strong due to good care). We pray that the Volvo does not give out or we will be SOL. Thankfully our only debt is a mattress, student loans, old tax debt, a car payment and a mattress (replacing an 18-year-old mattress that was killing our backs!)
    WHAT'S YOUR THINKING ABOUT THE PLIGHT OF OTHERS?
    How does the average American family with multiple children do it? Does everyone carry credit card debt to make ends meet? Will people go to their graves owing and never seeing their lives without debt? It is a very sad statement for our society. I wish I could stay home and tend to my family, but that would not put food on the table. Businesses are greedy and they are not paying their fair share to the workers! Why was it that when I was growing up with four other siblings my mom could stay home and my dad (working a blue-collar job) could keep us at a modest existance? Why can't this be done now?
    WHAT DO YOU THINK THE SOLUTION IS?
    I've started "simplifying" my life, but there is nothing more to cut out of our lives. Again, we live a modest life and we don't shop for a sport. The middle class is slowly being done away with by the wealthy businesses and slowly shuffled into the masses of the working poor. It's a new group and no one wants to admit it. People have got to open their eyes and say "what the hell is going on!"
    What's your experience? I invite personal stories about (a) the difficulty of "making it" on what you earn in your area, or (b) how you ARE getting by, and what it takes in dollars in your area. Since this information is personal, please select "anonymous" when submitting your story, after clicking "comments," below.

    See related article: "Knowledge Workers -- The New Working Poor?"

    Copyright 2005 EraNova Institute