There Are Jobs Everywhere: Industrial Age Versus the Information Age

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By Gerald Munduga

Today information is so readily available that we can find what we need in a ‘split second’, yet this information that we find so easily can be more of a problem than a solution. Most of us refer to this problem as information overload; well that’s a topic for another day.

More than a century ago, the world experienced the Industrial Revolution which was characterized by working in factories and doing a lot of physical work with little or no regard to information as a key driver of economies worldwide. Fast forward to the late 20th Century, we see that a shift in the world has apparently taken place rendering a lot of industries and businesses obsolete, mostly those that rely on labour.

Educational ideals that ruled the pre and post Industrial Revolution age are now hanging by the string. All this is happening because education establishments are now into the Information Age. This shift has occurred so quickly that some courses in our Universities are becoming irrelevant leaving teachers in these institutions overwhelmed. Those who didn’t clinch on to technology at the counter balance are now finding it hard to cope.                                                                                                              I remember one day writing a telegram with the help of my dad way back while I was still in Primary School, and all I recall were the limitation of words with the telegraph. It was quite a strange way of writing, yet once upon a time, it probably had its place as a favored way of communication. Try sending one today, and you’ll probably be seen as a ‘Butabika’ (mental case) victim. Unfortunately, little or no time is devoted by Administrations in instructing staff on how to access email and how to make use of some basic computer word processors when face to face communication over thousands of miles apart is now the in-thing.

It is common knowledge that in this information era, one doesn’t need to have entered a classroom to start a business, a company or to be employed. If you scrape through the internet you’ll find information about some of the wealthiest persons on this planet and you’ll realize that some attended very little of school, while others dropped off College to go after their dreams because they probably didn’t need an education to be who or what they wanted to be. And consider or imagine the number of PhDs holders they employ to run their businesses.

Jeff Bezos, Kamal Budhabatti of Kenya, Mark Zuckerberg, Vinny Lingham of South Africa are some of the Entrepreneurs who have taken charge of the Information Age to change their lives for the better. Looking through the lives of these Entrepreneurs, we should be motivated to change our attitudes and thinking in order to fit in with present times. In fact, some businesses are solely internet based to the point that if the internet ever broke down, they would be gone, save for their physical assets.

So now we are in school, and we graduate every year, and we are ready for the jobs, but wait! Which jobs?! As an example in the present day situation, when a job is advertised for an Accountant, I am very sure that not 100% of the applicants actually have the accounting background.  This happens because of the ease of access to information that if I wanted to learn accounting, the information is so readily available that even a Doctor could apply for the accounting job. All the Doctor needs is the interest in accounting and the time to learn. That is the power of the shift we are talking about.  

In the Industrial Age, there was a strong need for students to conform to the norms of that time. When most of the employment opportunities were for factory workers, schools needed to agitate for students who could perform routine tasks for long periods of time. The task for leaders was how to find enough factory workers to work. This allowed government leaders and heads of industry to view school as a way to produce the human resources that they needed to continue to be productive. Thinkers were considered misplaced because thinkers weren’t very good workers. The schools generally produced students who were good at going to school. A top student would be one who had good manners, never received punishment from the teacher and always did their homework. The rationale was that children who were good at going to school would also be good at going to work.

However, being in the Information Age, we now practically need the reverse of Industrial Age schooling. We need to begin agitating for students who can solve problems that are hardly known as problems as yet, and students who manifest leadership traits. The jobs of today will require students to have creative minds than ever before. These adults will be required to collaborate with others and question whatever is placed before them. Employers will be looking for workers who can use their networks to find the answers to whatever puzzles they come upon. Networked people form a more powerful synergy than the most excellent scholar because they will have the brain power of hundreds or thousands of minds put together.

Today, we can’t afford to produce students who are just good at being in school. What we need to produce are students who can survive without a detailed program of study. Being like everyone else will no longer be a sought-after attribute, but being a new you every day is. All it takes is for you to learn something new every day; the brain can take it considering we are underutilizing it.

Now stop looking for jobs and go find that problem to solve.  The information you need is available. The question is, do u have the time and guts to try it out?  You could soon turn from a job seeker to someone who spends Monday morning at the beach while looking at your business from a dashboard on your handset.

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