Something very, very big happened over the last decade. It is being felt in every job, factory and school. My own shorthand is that the world went from “connected to hyperconnected” and, as a result, average is over, because employers now have so much easier, cheaper access to above-average software, automation and cheap genius from abroad. Source: Tom Friedman

“Average is over.” What a profound statement and one I agree with…reluctantly. I have only to look at the lack of consulting jobs available to me. I’d often asked myself, What happens when what I know changes? You have to ask the question when you’re in the technology field. 


When I ask what the difference is, I realize what work I once did isn’t good enough anymore. My wife points out the following reasons as well:

  1. The Economy is pretty tough right now.
  2. You’re a wonderful guy and you need to market yourself better.
My son points out, “Dad, you need to write a book!” While I can’t disagree with those points TOO much, I suspect that the world being hyperconnected has something to do with the issue. After all, when you can hire a speaker from Scotland (sorry, Ewan!), why hire the local guy? But I have to be careful to not fall into the “sour grapes” trap. 
If you’re above average–and average is a much bigger group now that we are hyperconnected, as Tom Friedman points out–you probably can get a job. If you’re not, it’s going to be that much harder to close the gap. On the positive side, there are a lot of “sharp knives in the drawer” now that you can learn from and juxtaposing neat ideas can be the way forward.

As my son points out, and those of you who have written books have found, sharing your thoughts in writing is still one way to connect with audiences and earn money. This is important because while my goal is to add value, making money is also desirable.

Consider this perspective on the demise of the humanities:

What many undergraduates do not know — and what so many of their professors have been unable to tell them — is how valuable the most fundamental gift of the humanities will turn out to be. That gift is clear thinking, clear writing and a lifelong engagement with literature.

Maybe it takes some living to find out this truth. Whenever I teach older students, whether they’re undergraduates, graduate students or junior faculty, I find a vivid, pressing sense of how much they need the skill they didn’t acquire earlier in life. They don’t call that skill the humanities. They don’t call it literature. They call it writing — the ability to distribute their thinking in the kinds of sentences that have a merit, even a literary merit, of their own. 

Writing well used to be a fundamental principle of the humanities, as essential as the knowledge of mathematics and statistics in the sciences. But writing well isn’t merely a utilitarian skill. It is about developing a rational grace and energy in your conversation with the world around you. 

No one has found a way to put a dollar sign on this kind of literacy, and I doubt anyone ever will. But everyone who possesses it — no matter how or when it was acquired — knows that it is a rare and precious inheritance. Source:  The decline and fall of the English major

Do I want to write a book, as several colleagues have strongly suggested to me? Frankly, no. But if that’s the only way to make money, then that may be a motivator…or not. I like to write because it’s fun, not because I make money at it. Turning writing into money-making venture is distasteful if it requires much more than what I’m doing now. Ah, I’m reminded of Peter Elbow’s admonition–you’re not a professional writer if you’re not making money (although he didn’t say with double negatives).

So, what to do? Well, I’m considering a part-time job. And, do I really need that $600 gadget? I feel like such a whiner.