My laptop was down for a brief upgrade. As I watched the IT person do his thing, I realized there was virtually no work I could do for the company without that device. My work life began in the 1970’s. Then there was either no computer on the desk or if it was there it was connected to a cumbersome main frame system. Many times there was no way you could manipulate the data you received. But you could make your printed tables look good.
My first thoughts during this down time were how did I get any work done then? What did I work with to get anything done? What has changed since then? What has not?
The biggest change since my work career started was the thought that supply chain execution is crucial to the success of the business. Back them, we were only thought as a cost of doing business. I spent much time working on government regulation seeking government permission to use truck lines on certain markets. Exit and Entry has been substantially deregulated since the 1980’s.
Employee responsibilities have changed much also. While Safety was promoted earlier in my career, it was a top down process. Developing a safety culture concept where each employee is responsible for safety, a bottom up safety process had yet to be developed. Employees need to treat other employees with respect was not a concept generally around when I started.
Another change, many employees find ways they can be environmentally responsible within the confines of a profitable corporation. With weak and non-existent federal government regulation for the environmental, many managers realize that environmental responsibility must be promoted by them where it makes organizational sense. Let’s see where being environmental responsible might add to the corporate profits.
So what has not changed? Let me be serious first, but a little less so in a bit. Back then, you respected people who had good values and made you want to work for the organization and do the extra effort. That is still true day. Your good character dose make a difference. Poor values are short term work around, and undermines the long term survive of the firm. Is there vendor you said to yourself it is too risky to deal with because of its lack of good values?
Other things which has not changed are business fads which promise to be all end all, which do have value as part of the bigger whole, but are not the savior of your organization. Leaderships books keep out coming by the dozens and continue to sell. A silly, unanticipated business mess will show up and keep you occupied at work for a long time. I can assure AI (artificial intelligence) will not change this.
Your computer, regardless of type will go down, and you will stare at the ceiling waiting for it to be fixed. You might use the down time to reminisce about where you have been and where the world is going.