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and travelling light
Moving on comes in various forms.
At one end of the spectrum, we believe we know where we are going; we’ve researched, interviewed, checked out communities, chosen somewhere to live, and have an identity to take with us - a new job title, a new office, and a history of where we’ve been that will give us credibility. We’re putting another piece in place into the structure of our career. We book a removal company and move our belongings from A to B. After a few months, our new Monday mornings are much like our old Monday mornings, but with more money, more responsibilities and often bigger fears.
At the other end of the spectrum is the unplanned move. It might be triggered by an insight, a calling, something we are drawn to. It might equally be an escape from something we can no longer tolerate. Now we have a different set of choices - what to pack and what to put into storage. We don’t yet know where we’re going or what we’ll need, so we need to be prepared. I’m interested in this “Swiss Army Penknife” version of packing.
I’m writing this post on Monday, following my normal routine of journalling and scanning the news. What stood out for me were a few articles that seemed to emphasise the need to develop these Swiss Army Penknife skills:
An article in a CIPD report suggests that 40% of employers are having to resort to counter offers to keep critical staff, only to find that it’s not about the money. What really startles me is that this is a surprise.
An article in The Economist (paywall) about software that means that if you can design it on a computer, the computer can make it. I guess we are beginning to understand this, but it throws a spotlight onto our relationship with, and dependency on, technology as an integral part of our work. It’s a bit of a dangerous dance…
The entropy of prosperity:
"Sometimes it seems that it might be better to go back to those simpler days, that one might get more out of a less complex life. But it cannot be done. One changes with prosperity. We all think we should like to lead the simple life, and then we find that we have picked up a thousand little habits which we are quite unconscious of because they are a part of our very being-and these habits are not in the simple life. There is no going back-except as a broken man."
— Harvey Firestone, Men and Rubber (1926) via fs.blog
Another Economist article (paywall again) tells the story of how Adobe has made its mark by using AI using only its own data and avoided getting involved in the emerging IP debate regarding data scraped from the internet. Its competitive edge now comes from adding to its own data, rather than reprocessing that belonging to others. There is, I think, a metaphor for us here. If all the knowledge that is held online is ubiquitous, available to all, and can be processed digitally from design to delivery, the only thing that makes you and I different is our creativity, and our way of expressing it. As Oscar Wilde noted, “Be yourself; everybody else is taken”
I’m thinking that, when packing, being disciplined about what is not wanted on this voyage of discovery may well make a big difference,