The Intelligence Age
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Why I didn’t mow the lawn

No, this text is not about providing a list of alternatives to cop-out of moving the lawn. It’s about something that’s been bugging us for some time now, and got me thinking about where our careers and lives (to a large extent) are headed, taking into account the way things are working in the technological era.

I was talking to my dad about changing jobs within my present company and the potential issue that there may not be a suitable position for me – or rather one that I had a keen interest in. And he, like a lot of the older generation in the world, was of the opinion that with an engineering degree, a bachelor of commerce and MBA behind me, plus 15 years of solid international experience, that I would be able to pick and choose my job, anywhere in the world. Hardly so. Corporate giants aren’t as much interested in your qualifications as to you character reference, your persona, practical experience and how fast you’ve gotten to where you are. Most incumbents would pick up the detail anyway (Virgin’s ‘hire for attitude, train for skill’ philosophy). Don’t get me wrong, a solid education is important, but now that the “world is flat”, you are up against a few hundred thousand professionals with the same or better qualifications than you, willing to work for less than your present salary, so you’ve lost that bargaining element. And companies are more than willing to offshore jobs, not just the IT and call centre types, but content like tax preparation, RandD, engineering etc. This aim of this article is not to present a doomsday picture of the career of the white-collar professional, but to help you focus on what you need to do to survive and prosper as the technological revolution unfolds...

Back to the situation at hand. Previously undiscovered species of locusts are beginning their mating rituals in the thriving wilderness that was once the backyard. But I won’t buy a lawnmower, even if the capital cost is an insignificant fraction of my monthly salary (No I don’t earn that much, but this is compared to the relative cost of such an item a generation ago). This is about how I utilise my time to create value, in the form of quality time, income or knowledge. So I choose to outsource mowing the lawn.