Original Spanish version published in El Comercio newspaper (Peru) on July 08, 2018
“Yes, we saw it earlier”, they respond with a smile, “and we called to have it picked up.”
I can’t help myself and I ask them with curiosity, “Why is it that you didn’t pick it up?
They look at me, and kindly answer: “That’s the maintenance guy’s job and he should be here any minute.”
I leave asking myself, “Since when is picking up a piece of paper from the floor the exclusive responsibility of someone else? Is it that they feel diminished by doing it, or maybe too big to do that simple task? Is this representative of the company’s principles?
I am very concerned about these people and the impact that their attitude and behavior could have on their employability. I think about how many others still live in the previous paradigm, in that culture of having a right to a job, of solely doing those things for which they are paid or were originally hired, with no flexibility, no ability or willingness to adapt, no desire to learn or to give more, and not wanting to leave their comfort zone, with low productivity. I worry about them, because maybe they do not see the new trends, blind to the huge changes that technology, automation, and artificial intelligence will soon bring to many types of jobs and industries in general. Above all, they seem to be oblivious to the new demands in productivity, competitiveness, up-to-dateness, and excellence in the performance of each of the professionals and workers who will live or survive these changes.
Remember that productivity and employability are intrinsically linked –the higher the level of employability, the higher the level of productivity, and vice versa. A culture of employability is one where people understand that their job is not a given right –much less earned forever or in spite of everything– but rather one that they earn repeatedly, every day of the week. Although this message may sound obvious and perhaps even repetitive, few have internalized it. Even today, there are few organizations that invest resources in promoting employability, in teaching this work culture where each of us, as an adult, is responsible for our own competitiveness.
Having a good level of employability, or being very employable, is not having a job, but rather it is having the right attitude and the personal decision to always be very productive. It is this good attitude that determines whether there will be a continuous demand for our professional services, in a context where no job at any level is assured.
And so, it was in the hope that my friends with the paper on the floor –or others like them– read these lines, that I sat down to write these lines, in case it may be useful or help them to become aware of the inescapable reality in which we live...