The End of the Knowledge Worker

I hear that we are in the economy of the knowledge worker. Nope, we skipped that.

We were supposed to be shifting from the manufacturing worker to the knowledge worker. All the big gurus told us of this shift. They tell me that it has been going on for 20 years.

Workers at work; Photo: zabaraorg

The only problem is that the very tools that prompted the shift from manufacturing to knowledge have allowed us to skip a level. We never actually needed knowledge workers. It wasn’t what they knew that was valuable.

Knowledge is easy, knowledge is everywhere

Knowledge is easy. It’s at our fingertips. My 7 year old daughter can find knowledge – in her case how to build different structures in Minecraft. I head over to Google, YouTube, Wikipedia and a few blogs and I am loaded up on knowledge.

How to reset an ADSL modem? I’ll check youtube. How many people live in Georgia? I’ll check wikipedia. What to do to renew my passport? I’ll google it, with a preference for .gov websites.

It is not knowledge that differentiates great employees.

It is not contacts.

It is not presence or communications or a nice suit.

It never was. It was what the best “knowledge” workers were able to do with the stuff that they knew – be resourceful in overcoming obstacles; be creative in facing setbacks; be open minded in dealing with uncertainty.

Resourcefulness Workers

What matters now is resourcefulness, the ability to devise innovative solutions from knowledge. This is something technology still cannot emulate.  There is not a lot of money or reward in “knowing”, there is a lot of reward in taking responsibility for a problem and creating a solution using the resources that are available.

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