Lee Wilkinson

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What does the 50 something generation do now that the industrial revolution is fading?

The industrial revolution is on a fast decline and the 50 something generation is caught squarely in the middle of it. When I left school in the early seventies factories were already on a decline or shutting down and we are now well into the communication age of social media. What do we do if we are to leave our mark on the world as a generation? How do we adapt to a fast changing landscape with few rules and many questions?

  • Oct 2 2013: Lee,

    In one of your comments, you stated you felt we were at a cusp of a transformation. I could not agree more and the affect on what jobs will be available will be huge, more than some people imagine and in a major different way.

    Many people have suggested sharing knowledge and experience which is good. The problem is getting to a position to make those things available.
    1. If you have a reputation, individuals will seek you out for consulting. Currently a friend of mine is helping a new start up in this very role. He was world known for his work in his field. If you do not have a reputation, you have to start small and try to grow a reputation.
    2. Find the right organization to volunteer. Within the Small Business Administration, there is a group of experienced individuals that consult with small businesses which request help.
    3. See if you can be an adjunct at a 2 or 4 year college and teach or be willing to give talks for free
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    Oct 1 2013: Craig and Robert, I believe you are both right. We have part of the problem and should be part of the solution, we took when the going was good and we should be willing to be part of the solution when the results have been in part what we have created. I am 58 and fortunate that I have a good job that I like, but I feel the need to change my course and be willing to get stuck in. We have a generation taking our place who need the benefit of the lessons we have learned. The latest shut down of the US Government is proof however that we have not leaned enough.
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    Oct 1 2013: We have 'collectively' taken a wrong turn. Our use/abuse of our very life support systems is without president while we package it as 'progress'. We give no value to the earth and the symbiotic interdependent relationships that have evolved over millenniums but we do know our bank balances whether from benign or destructive endeavors. We are rapidly approaching a very new and different reality where our military undermines our security rather than protects it. Our world views are totally out of whack and our education system is complicit.

    The question is can enough of us wake up in time to change course, or are we all just passengers on the modern equivalent of the titanic after its hit the ice berg? Where your 50 or 60, this has all happened on our watch... Now we all just wait and watch as this once garden planet becomes hell, all in the name of progress.
  • Oct 1 2013: I think our generation has the responsibility of passing lessons learned from prior generations in the areas of manufacturing and engineering to the next generation. This includes helping to be the voice of reality when young leaders are making choices about new technologies. Let them take on the risk they are comfortable with accepting, but help them understand the risk they are accepting and how to mitigate the risk using lessons learned form the past.

    I think professional mentoring is a bit like parenting. We must remember what we learned outside the classroom as we tried to apply academic methods to the realities of the workplace, allow the young professionals to develop the same skill set, and add suggestions or constructively critical comments that allow the old lessons to be considered and transition into today's workplace.

    We will need to proved for our own welfare in our old age, but once you have acquired " your number" in the way of retirement money, resist the urge to walk away and retire. Find ways to continue to contribute and help the next generation of professionals as a guide, mentor, colleague, teacher, or whatever. Like parenting, if they do not eventually succeed and prosper, we all suffer the same fate.

    Keep learning, keep your skill set sharp, and keep working to the extent you are willing and able to do so, but also look for ways to transition your knowledge...like TED!
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    Oct 1 2013: Hi Wayne

    That's not an easy question to answer as it will be different for all of us. In the past though we have been engineers and textile managers Shop owners and Policemen. We have been integral parts of our culture. I suppose this was our time. I see the issue in the speed in which the industrial era disappeared and has left behind so many people wondering how they fit into a society that is predominantly Technically driven with a media and social net work platform. And as we sat on the cusp of this transformation I believe that it has hit this generation the hardest.
    • Oct 1 2013: I think I understand - you are asking is there a way that those that seem to be left behind to become working integral parts of the society they are in. Does that come close to what you are asking?
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    Oct 1 2013: We start new revolutions.

    JoyN US!

    Oops - we already are us .. ;)

    http://www.ted.com/conversations/20594/climate_advancing_in_the_war.html
  • Oct 1 2013: Lee,

    Could you explain what you mean by leaving your mark? thx
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    Sep 30 2013: How then, do we make use of this lifetime of experience. You are right, we are a tenacious group, born just after the end of WWll we have seen the highs and lows and we know how to survive. How is it that such a wealth of experience can be unused?
  • Sep 30 2013: I am 64. I, and some coworkers of roughly the same age, are working at entry level service jobs. Some of these people have college degrees, and almost all of them have very valuable experience. Several of them have owned and managed successful businesses. I think that any estimate of underemployment in the USA would likely be far lower than the actual level. I suspect the official figures are probably off by a factor of twenty or more.
    • Oct 3 2013: Good luck. Have a lot of friends and colleagues in the same boat or still looking for a job. Some definitely are hirable but as soon as they go in for the interview, they can tell the interview was over as soon as they walked in.

      imho many positions will not come back nor certain jobs. Switching careers and to what is very tough.
  • Sep 30 2013: Share your wisdom. In education, volunteer work, saving the environment. Whatever you like.

    The one thing the 50+ generation have that is invaluble is thier attitude towards hard work. Thier resilience. Robustness. GRIT. Facing failure head-on, grind your teeth and carry on.

    That is worth sharing and educating the younger generations.