Scavenging the shelves of the Austin Airport newsagent looking for an alternative to the dreaded airport novel, I happened upon a magazine I hadn't seen in aeons – Fast Company!
Fast Company?!! Oh dear, is this Web 2.0 fever I've caught on the way back from SXSW Interactive? Nurse, the screens!
Back in the almost-heady days of 98/99 when I was Web Editor at Ernst & Young International, our Web Manager – the awesome Mr Paul O'Shea (a Cork man you see) – was an avid FC reader and I'd regularly browse his copy.
Anyway, it just so happened it was a great issue of FC I purchased – more than adequate brainfood for the return trip.
Right at the back was a great big 'ol feature on careers in the the networked age, entitled 'Creating a Gem of a Career' with the standfirst (as we old-school journos call it): 'Monster.com? History. Networks? Everywhere. Five trends that will shape your career in the coming decade'
You can read it here
Big Brother right back at ya
The passage that really stood out for me was this:
"Your network may make companies transparent to you, but you're transparent to employers as well. Anything online, whether easily available or tucked away in a private network, is fair game. 'It's a big problem when someone's Facebook profile says that her favorite thing is to get s–tfaced on a Saturday night," says Masie.'Google is the first stop for finding info [on potential hires], then Facebook,' he says. So there may be a number of versions of "you" being projected into the world. Not all of them will necessarily be what you want an employer to see. Can you control that? If not, can you live with it?"
The networked generation goes mainstream
…but here's the bit that really twisted my melon – and offers hope for folk like myself who angst about "life-caching":
"Over time, hiring managers will be less interested in the salacious stuff that a Google search might reveal. 'So you were president of your frat," says Morris. 'As more information gets out there about everyone, it diffuses the importance of each individual piece of information. It will be okay.' "
A VE-RY interesting perspective, and think of the implications. As the MySpace / Facebook / Bebo generation enters the working world, it – the voluminous Buzznet/Flickr-stream, the years of carefree blogging and distributed blog posts, the tracked searches on Google – will (within reason) be immaterial… eventually. In the UK? Maybe in about 5 or 6 years I reckon (stick that in your predictionometer!)
Nonetheless, some issues remain. In terms of dealing with this new, two-way transparency of the distributed self, they cited the (free) service offered by ZoomInfo.
Return of the everywoman/man
Another thing I really rated about the writer's reasoning was the invocation to: "Embrace the Liberal Arts (Again)" ie. a broad-ranging understanding – and experience – of the world, of work and the different components of your business area is what gives individuals the edge in the modern economy.
As FC puts it:
"Many of today's exciting jobs (Java developer, brand-experience designer) didn't really exist 10 years ago. And the exciting professions of tomorrow have yet to be imagined. As a result, what we need from our education has changed. 'What you want to learn is how to learn,' says Taleo's Snell. And that's where the liberal-arts education becomes valuable again.' "
Agreed! Moreover, as I see it, anyone, even the most brilliant of experts, can enhance their standing – and their contribution to human knowledge and enterprise – by not soley operating in or being totally absorbed by the silo mentality.
And "lesser" specialists can learn whatever they want about their discipline or cross-company practices – and build-up new skills – from the internet and the blogs throwing open the doors on the "secrets" of professions in multitudes…
For all those already or aspiring to be working in innovative companies – and for Britain's economy in general – yet another wake-up call…
[PS. Turns out, while getting you the article link, I found out Fast Company also have a blog]