Tag Archives: retraining

You can’t make a silk purse out of a buggy whip

A while ago I talked to a very good programmer whose skills are hopelessly out of date. She was hoping to get a job as an intern so she could upgrade her skills. She has only one problem in her job search.

Only antique collectors say, “I like things that are outdated, frustrating, inefficient and dangerous.”

Train, Railway, Old, Abandoned, Outdated

Luckily she knew she might only be hired as an intern. Some people think that they should be hired as rocket scientists even though they have outdated skills. I have people severely infected with archaic abilities approach me every week. They freely admit their problem and then tell me they deserve a great job, a raise and happiness without their own effort.

Bosses want to hire the best people they can. They aren’t social workers. Some companies train the people they hire, but they are going to try and hire the best worker who needs the least training. It is pure common sense; they hire the best person.

If you are a master of buggy whip technology, don’t expect a job at NASA. There will always be a few buggy whip makers scraping by, but you won’t get rich working for them. Invest in yourself. Get the updated skills you need to be employable. Get out of the buggy whip age and into the computer age. Leave the stone arrowhead tools behind and become an engineer. Learn to be an expert.

That means YOU need to invest in yourself. It may be as simple as asking your boss for training. More likely YOU will have to study on your own. Read a new technical, sales or business book each month. Subscribe to journals and websites about what you do. There are community and online colleges that you can use to get a degree or advanced training. 

You can’t make a silk purse out of a buggy whip, but with time and patience you can turn a mulberry leaf into a silk purse. It takes specialized knowledge and a silkworm. Learn the specialized knowledge you need for your job. Go make a silk purse.

Something To Do Today

Think about what skills YOU have that are outdated. What can you do to update those skills or replace them?

What to do if your job is outsourced to California or China

If you took all the economists in America and laid them end to end from Los Angeles to New York City, they would each point in a different direction.

I heard an economist say that every time a Walmart opens in a community, that the number of jobs increases and the average pay for each job increases.  He also said that outsourcing jobs to China increases high paying jobs and wages in the USA.  The real problem is that whatever happens in the long run, in the short run people get hurt.

Here in Harrisburg, PA some high paying jobs were outsourced to California, where it costs even more to get work done.  How can that be economical?

The economist worries me much less than the jobs moving to California. Why would someone move jobs to a high cost location?  I can understand being cheap and moving them to China or Walmart.

What really happened is that companies were merging in the software field.  The one in Harrisburg, PA was not competing effectively.  Their product was looking old, slow and not very flexible.  The CA company was winning the sales game, but there were a lot of customers who wouldn’t move off the old PA platform.  The CA company bought the PA company to get the customers.  The owners of the PA company were glad they didn’t have to run their company into the ground.  The customers were pleased because they were getting a better support organization and the chance to move to the new platform. Everyone won except the workers in PA. They had to find new jobs.

They did find new jobs.  It is 12 years later. Everyone I knew in that company is now working on newer technology and earning more.

There is nothing in business as intensely fertile as an American company getting trounced by another American company. In the dying company everyone looks at their contribution to their own demise.  They then use what they learned to compete against higher paid workers.  New skills are learned.  New jobs are created.

In every dying company there are some people who re-train themselves early on and leave for better jobs.  When the old company dies, the rest of the workers then re-train or retire.  The people who re-train themselves early are better off.  They are earning more money much earlier.  They are also prepared to step away from their job into a better paying one if their job is outsourced to China or Walmart.

Doesn’t it make sense for you to constantly be re-training yourself?  Be prepared for the changes in the economy.  Someone is going to earn more and be more secure.  Shouldn’t it be you?

Something to do today

Write your accomplishments in your job journal.  Remember, your boss doesn’t really know what you do all day.  Give him a report.

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Next:   Prove it

Later:              The last thing you say in an interview