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Out of Our Minds
Monday, May 16, 2005 5:14 PM
The Age of Worthwhile?
Eric McNulty on Passionate Work

Or at least the age of Worthwhile readers may be upon us. I had the good fortune to be included in a lunch discussion with Dan Pink last Friday. Dan is the author of A Whole New Mind: Moving from the Information Age to the Conceptual Age and a very insightful guy.

He sees three forces that are shaping the work roles that will be most valuable in the U.S. and Europe in the years ahead: Abundance, Asia, and Automation.

Abundance leads us to move from valuing 'utility' to 'significance' in the things we own. Significance comes from design, creativity, and inspiration -- rather than simply doing a job better, these products do it better and with greater style. What you found at the five-and-dime was utility; what lures you to Target is significance. Note the 'arms race' in designer toilet brushes if you doubt him.\n\nAsia and Automation are self-explanatory: if it can be done less expensively or more quickly by overseas labor or by a computer, it will be. \n\nThe jobs that will remain and grow are those capitalize on the first 'A' and can't be outdone by either of the second two. The skills needed -- creativity, design savvy, empathy, etc. -- just happen to be those for which many people are intrinsically motivated. \n\nAs Dan said, 'You may know an accountant who goes home to a studio to paint, but I doubt you know a painter who goes home to do taxes as a hobby.'\n\nWe've been talking about 'doing what you love' for at least a generation but it always seemed that it was only possible for the minority. Now the stars may be aligning so that more of us than we ever thought possible can align our passions with the profits needed to prosper.

1 comment

Kate - 5/17/2005 9:33:16 AM
I'm reading the book now and especially enjoy how it doesn't just tell you what the new 'keys to the kingdom' are, it emphasizes that they are part of every one of us and can be developed, starting with the straightforward exercises Pink provides.

A definite must-read: especially if you think this kind of thing has nothing to do with your daily worklife.


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