How Outdated is Your Job?

Are you a pneumatic tube operator?

A COO is not a COO is not a COO. While the title Chief Operating Officer should indicate range of responsibilities, it does little to describe them.

Same for a Buyer, a Plant Manager, or an New Product Development Manager.

These titles have very different meanings in a $5M, a $100MM, and a $1B company. They also have very different responsibilities in a contract machine shop, a pharmaceutical business, and an international defense Tier 2 contractor.

And they have different responsibilities and expectations as a single manufacturer or distributor changes volumes, markets, or ownership.

The plant manager of a $50MM contract metal working company was in over his head as it grew to $75MM. He left to become the COO of a less than $10MM machine shop.

So who is responsible for ensuring that an employee or team grows its competencies as the needs of the business change?

Those needs change frequently and never decline. Even plummeting sales do not lessen compliance, performance, and competency expectations of the market. Lifelong learning is a great phrase, and a requirement of the culture embedded in any manufacturer who intends to endure.

Daily constant learning is an even more important phrase and element of culture, as it implies lifelong.

Each employee of every business owns responsibility for willingly learning and expanding skillsets and knowledge base. Each leader at any level owns that responsibility not only for herself, but for every member of her team.

Keeping pace with today’s needs is basic need. Anticipating and meeting tomorrow’s requirements is an equally basic need.

How do you know if the requirements of your job are changing faster than you are? Of your team? Of your entire business? Of your entire supply chain? Of all of your constituencies?

Jobs do not stay the same. Careers do not either.

If you go to work today to do the same things you did yesterday, come home, and go in again tomorrow to do the same things again, your company is in trouble, as is your job.

Sadly, the Social Security Administration continues to use a list of active unskilled jobs that includes “pneumatic tube operator” in considering disability claims. Dowel inspector and shelling nuts are two other jobs it deems in significant numbers to decline benefits to people it believes could do those. Good luck finding one of those openings at a facility near you.

How long until the job you currently perform is just another embarrassing kernel of the SSA list of active unskilled opportunities?

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