“Eventually the existing skills will become outmoded.”
-Jeff Bezos Amazon Ceo
The Bigger They Are the Harder They Fall
I did not think that I would live to see the day retail giants like Sears, Kohl’s and Macy’s could not weather the storm that is the result of Hurricane Amazon. These juggernauts have been the cornerstone of retail shopping for decades and now they have met their match. The retail leaders of the past must either adapt to the technological disruptions that the Fourth Industrial Revolution is bringing about or get rolled over. Jeff Bezos, the founder, and CEO of Amazon has planned this take over for a long time and he is finally seeing the fruit of his labor. In his 1997 letter to his investors, Bezos wrote “We believe that a fundamental measure of our success will be the shareholder value we create over the long term. This value will be a direct result of our ability to extend and solidify our current leadership position. The stronger our market leadership, the more powerful our economic model.” A lot of jobs will be lost but with some guidance, many will create opportunities to actually advance their career and prosper from the vast economic changes that many are not focusing on yet, including some government officials.
The Skills Problem
Jeff Bezos said, “eventually the existing skills will become outmoded.” He is 100% correct! Paul T. Corrigan writes in his article, “Preparing Students for What We Can’t Prepare Them For” that “We are currently preparing students for jobs that don’t yet exist . . . using technologies that haven’t been invented . . . in order to solve problems we don’t even know are problems yet.” As an educator I witness the skills gap widening every day in our current classrooms. During a conversation with a co-worker, she said that “our students are social media ready, but not college and career ready.” My campus issued out brand new shiny Chrome-Books to every student. The students were so excited to receive their new technology and I just knew that this would transform my classroom and myself as an educator. I believed that my students would be able to access all of the different digital applications that are available to us with no issues and if they did encounter an issue they would have the creative problem-solving skills needed to figure out a solution to their problem. I WAS WRONG!
Kids in School Today and Technology
My students had no idea what to do with this new technology at first for educational and learning purposes. The bright side of my situation is that my students are savvy and have a little more technological background to help them maneuver digital landscapes than a lot of my colleagues. So, within a short time they were able to adapt and now things are a little easier in class. This is great for them because they are being introduced to the type of skills that they will need to gain employment in the future. I truly feel that today’s generation will be prepared for the new era that is being ushered in. They are in classrooms developing their technology skills and will be able to adapt because they will have a foundation that is already based on new and upcoming technology. It is the generations before them that I am most concerned about. The Traditionalist, Baby Boomers, and Gen. X’ers need to wake up and realize that if they do not open their eyes they will be left behind.
The Skills Solution and How to Prosper
According to the World Economic Forum’s report on job skills, food services, manufacturing, and transportation will be the industry’s most affected by automation. Jeff Bezos and Amazon are leading the charge when it comes to technology disruption. Amazon has already opened a store without cashiers. Customers literally grab and go at Amazon Go! Workers will need to become lifelong learners if they plan to weather the storm. If prospering and advancing your career is your goal, it all starts with YOU! In my article, “The 3 Must Have Soft Skills That Employers Want,” I mentioned the importance of reading. Reading about your field and researching trends in your industry will help you to stay ahead of the changes. Job analyst predict that blue and white collar jobs are susceptible to computerization. If you take the time to learn about where your industry is headed you can begin to learn the new skills that you will need to possibly lead your team to the next level. 2020 is almost here and all the “experts” are predicting that is the year we will really start to feel the changes due to the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Now is the time to prepare so you and your family can prosper and see the fruit of your labor like Jeff Bezos!