I found myself today thinking about how things have changed in my lifetime. So much is different, so much progress, so many technological developments. Things un-thought of in my youth are the norm today.
In one respect that is the history of the world. Business changes, jobs change, technology changes. More and faster than most young people can appreciate. I was born a little over 60 years ago. A plane in the sky was a novelty, home entertainment was gathering together to listen to the radio. Not all homes had electricity, or a phone. If you grew up in the country as I did, and had a phone, you had to listen before dialing to make sure no one else was using the line. If it rang, you counted the rings to know if it was yours, as several houses shared the same line.
Tablets? Calculators? Cell Phones? Nope, oh there were computers, they filled rooms, and cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to do only simple math. (See the movie Hidden Figures for a good example of all of this.) Today you carry more computing power on you wrist or in your pocket than existed in the entire world then. I can still remember the excitement when we got our first TV set. It was a piece of furniture, a big wooden cabinet with a screen not much bigger than your tablet that produced a black and white picture. We had three stations, all a little bit snowy, that went off the air each night at midnight.
I remember staring at the sky in wonder, and yes a little fear, as Sputnik flew by in space, the excitement of watching John Glenn take off and then safely return, or watching Neil Armstrong take that “small step for man …” I remember when the next state was like a foreign country and the opposite coast an exotic land you might be lucky enough to see by train some day.
I could go on and on, but my point is simply this, the things we take for granted today were unheard of a mere fifty years ago. What was state of the art then is ancient history today. Even the jobs have changed, a lot. When I graduated, few went to college, when my kids graduated, everyone who wanted a job went to college. Now I am starting to see the pendulum starting to swing the other way. Increasingly, the jobs that command the really high salaries, the place where there are more jobs than workers are in the skilled trades, artisans, people who know how to work with their hands, who can build, repair, create things of utility and things of beauty. How long or how far will that pendulum swing? I have no idea, but eventually it’ll swing back, it always does.
I was just reminded of something; I was watching a grandchild at a country fair, not long ago. She was in a greased pig catching contest. She won, not because she was bigger, faster or stronger than the other kids, but because she watched. Instead of chasing the pig, she watched it, and tried to anticipate where it would be, and then ran to that spot. To the younger ones reading this, if you want to get ahead, stop, look and listen. Figure the job that will take you to where you want to be, not tomorrow, next year, or in ten years, but in 20, 30, 40 years. Then get the education you will need to get that job and be ready for what is to come. You may not nail it, but you’ll come close.
Oh one last thing, while you’re looking make sure it’s the job YOU WANT, not what someone else tells you you should have, or ought to have, or can do, but the one that you want. And take time to enjoy life, family, friends, nature. If you do, you’ll look back at my age with no regrets. If you do not ….