Insufficient Training

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When was the last time you read a book?

The weather report says it’s going to rain – snow – freeze and we are preparing for it. Grab an umbrella, bundle up, stay indoors by the heater. Now learn from the experience.

Observation. Just plain paying attention to what is going on around you, then copying things you like. If it makes you feel better, there is a chance it will make someone else feel better too. Well, unless you don’t care how other people will feel. You have your excuses for being impolite, or perhaps you’re a jerk. Elementary training.

Perhaps I expect more of certain people than I should. Maybe I’m in a mood when something occurs that I didn’t expect, like the failure of a “Thank you” for holding a door for someone. Where has courtesy gone? Why don’t people in positions of leadership do a better job of leading? Or teaching?

Lifetime learning is real. As advancements are made in the way things are done our knowledge grows. We become more educated in that activity, often more qualified. Common courtesy, it is often claimed, isn’t that common. At least it isn’t as common as those who are well versed in the expected practices of it would like it to be. How much is it worth for me to be polite?

If being impolite has no cost to me socially, financially, or professionally, perhaps I will decide it isn’t worth my time or effort to learn the practices of being polite. There is just no benefit. There is evidence that is wrong thinking.

Two people applying for the same job usually have different qualifications for that job. It is a matter of degrees of course. On a scale of 1 to 100 on a preferred employee spectrum one applicant will rate higher than the other. The higher scored applicant is more likely to be hired than the lower ranked applicant. If that hiring ranking is a matter of courtesy that applicant will be hired, the other would not. In this instance there is a benefit to being polite. It has value.

Learning beyond the personal and social activities levels will gradually fade in importance as skill levels needed for employment increase. Skills learned by time, experience, and formal education become more crucial with advancing technologies and professional occupations. We know and understand that. What can be unknown, however, is the relationship between unskilled and skilled labor as technology advances including simple improvements in processes that replace people with machines. Assembly line work is an advancement over production of an item done one at a time. Universal parts that fit all widgets allow automated production to replace workers for the sake of time, number of items made in a specified time, accuracy and cost per unit produced.

Those improvements in production continue to be advanced to levels most of us don’t consider until they are introduced as our replacements. If we are unprepared for the replacement, we may find ourselves unemployed.

Education and continuous improvement is needed to advance in skills, opportunity, and income. These have always been understood. As automation, robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) force their way into our lives, the on-going learning in our occupations are more than wisdom for our income growth and comfortable living but necessary for survival. The unskilled, repetitious labors of the past are disappearing and being taken over by machines and computers. Earlier in our education we need to accept the reality of learning and education as a lifetime activity and not only a temporary required idea in our childhood years. It is not a choice to be made, that has already been made.

Concern for the so-called disappearing middle class is a result of a lack of preparation for the needed training in the work environment that allows for income growth and affordable living standards. You cannot afford to let your education lapse. You and your family depend on it.

Greg Henderson

Greg Henderson is the retired founder of the Southern Oregon Business Journal. A University of Oregon graduate and a six- year U.S. Air Force veteran.

Photo by Daria Nepriakhina 🇺🇦 on Unsplash

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