About Peter Weddle
Peter Weddle is a recruiter, HR consultant and business CEO turned author and commentator. Described by The Washington Post as “... a man filled with ingenious ideas,” he has earned an international reputation, pioneering concepts in Human Resource leadership and employment. He has authored or edited over two dozen books and been a columnist for The Wall Street Journal, The National Business Employment Weekly, and CNN.com. Today, he writes two newsletters that are distributed worldwide and oversees WEDDLE’s LLC, a print publisher specializing in the field of human resources. WEDDLE’s annual Guides and Directory to job boards are recognized for their accuracy and helpfulness, leading the American Staffing Association to call Weddle the “Zagat of the online employment industry.”
Desperate Times Call for Hopeful Measures
The Punishing Power of Parity
Taking the Me Out of Mediocrity
The Hidden Deficit in Your Career
Today’s Two X Two Job Markets
Putting Innocence Aside
Three Job Market Fictions
Doubling Down for the Job of Your Dreams
The War for Work
Land of the Free and Home of the Brave
The Faux Independence of Steven Slater
The New Car Rule of Career Education
Pace of change is making us quickly obsolete
BY PETER WEDDLE
It's a longstanding rule of thumb. A new car loses 10 percent of its value the minute you drive it off the dealer's lot. It doesn't matter whether you've bought a Mercedes or a Chevrolet, your vehicle's worth starts declining as soon as you start to use it. The same is true with training and education in our careers. Its employment value begins to degrade the nanosecond we complete the coursework.
Historically, we've been able to invest episodically in our occupational education and training. We could do it every now and then because the pace of change in the workplace was relatively slow. Today's it's not. Workplace change is now occurring at warp speed.
How fast is warp speed?
Moore's Law provides a good approximation. It holds that the power of technology is roughly doubling every two years. And, technology now permeates virtually every occupation. From jobs on the assembly line to white collar positions in finance, technology is remaking the requirements and responsibilities of our jobs every 24 months.
What does that mean for our expertise?
The pace of change in what we need to know is equal to the inverse of that law. In other words, the half-life of our expertise is now down to a fleeting twelve months. Or to put it another way, we become obsolete every two years.
It's that dynamic which establishes the New Car Rule of Career Education. Our shiny new knowledge - whether it's expressed in a bachelor's degree or a certificate of completion for a training program - begins to lose its usefulness as soon as we move it from the classroom to the real world.
Retaining that New Car Smell in our expertise
The pace of change in the workplace has not only changed jobs, it's changed the way employers staff their organizations, as well. Today, they are no longer willing to employ workers who are unable to excel at their work on-the-job.
If you have any doubt about that, consider this: A 2010 Survey conducted by the job board CareerBuilder.com found that 37 percent of employers - almost four-out-of-ten - said they were "trading up." That's the euphemism for laying off average performers in order to hire those who are peak performers.
Now, I believe we are all capable of peak performance, but to reach that level, we must have state-of-the-art skills. And, the state-of-the-art is now morphing in real time. The only way we can stay at our peak, therefore, is to reset our self-image. We must now see ourselves as a "work in progress."
No matter what level of academic degree we have or how much seniority we've attained in the workplace, we must be continuously engaged in self-improvement. Adding skills is now table stakes in the workplace. We aren't even in the game unless we are getting better. All of the time.
That's true when we have a full time and demanding job and even when we are in transition. As a work-in-progress, we only make progress if we are constantly adding to our expertise - so our talent always has that new car smell.
Visit my blog at Weddles.com/WorkStrong.