Everyone wants a job today – but they are not coming back – for when no REAL skills are required, you can be replaced by a machine, a computer or a person who is happy to earn 1/4 of your pay. The job demands deskilling – that is why the job needs managers. This period is ending. This is why.
We all worry about getting or losing a job. When we meet people, they ask us what we do and we give them a job description. When we apply for jobs, we get all fussed about the “skills” we need. When we have a job, we have to be managed and so have bosses. Politicians all talk about getting more jobs. School is all about getting jobs.
But the “Job” as we know it is a 19th century idea. In America very few people as a percentage of the population had job before 1905.
Here is a core idea, especially as we all fuss about skills etc. The whole purpose of a Job is to DESKILL people. What do I mean?
This picture is the key. Before Henry Ford, making a car was an artisanal activity. Really skilled people created each car. With the production line, tools and algorithms were used to enable the owner to use unskilled people. Yes each person could get good at assembly but that is like saying that because I am good at putting Ikea furniture together that I am a cabinet maker. The men who made the Stanley Steamer could make anything. They had the metal working and engineering skills to be artisans.
This process of DESKILLING has taken place in all parts of ur lives.
Today we can all offer our friends and family an excellent meal. Many of us are Foodies. But in reality, most people today cannot cook. They can assemble but not cook. They have no deeper skills.
Yes it takes a certain amount of skill to do this. Chances are if the tractor breaks, it has to go to the shop. But think of the skill behind this!
The plowing is only a fraction of the skill. Farmers in the day knew what was really going on. Today agribusiness is no different from a production line. It’s all external process and algorithms. It’s Ikea.
It’s the same with white collar work. Sales people are all scripted. All core processes are scripted. There is no room to think or create outside the very narrow range allowed in the Chicken Box each of us live in. We are all working at Highland Park.
So all the skill aspects of the “job” are in effect about knowing how to follow Ikea instructions. They are “assembly” and obedience skills.
What is not wanted are people who really are engineers, or farmers or cooks. The assembly line has no room for thinking outside the proscribed process.
This is why when so many people lose their jobs, they are lost. They are lost because they have no real skills. Anyone can put an Ikea desk together which is why your job can be outsourced or replaced with a machine. Your only chance is to find another “assembly” line that still needs what you can do.
Today that will never happen.
This too is why the Manager is a dying breed too. Managers are in reality factory assembly line foremen who job it is to meet the quota and the rules of the process. Theirs is not the job to think of new ways of doing things. Their job is to keep it all moving and the sheep from straying. But with fewer sheep, who needs the manager?
Again the biggest farce of all are all the managerial skills that are in demand. All those managers that are truly innovative get asked to leave. What is demanded is to be able to keep control.
The skill that managers need to rise, is not to have results, but to be expert politicians. Anyone who has been an outstanding manager who has constantly delivered results knows that this means little compared with others who climb over them.
This system was OK when it really was Highland Park. Then all of this was in the open and accepted as such. People also got paid well. Now all of this is obscured behind a touchy feely facade. On the surface we are all one big happy family. We need your ideas. Innovation is what it is all about. We are all going to cooperate. We are all leaders. This will be bottom up.
And worst of all, it doesn’t work anymore. Highland Park revolutionized how things were done in the world. This process worked very well for a long time. But it doesn’t work for any one now, not even the owners.
Later in the series I will talk about leaving the idea of the job behind. Of what true skills mean and how they protect us. Of how to look for work instead of a job.
Bu in my next piece I will talk about the central business process for the traditional organization. The process that any executive has to master. The key to success for you if you wish to climb what is left of the greasy pole. The main barrier against all forms of cooperation and why 2.0 will fail in most organizations. The Budget!
Your Traditional Company has only ONE core process – the Budget. You are just part of the expenses and all the guff about our people is propaganda.