What Steven Tyler and I have in Common

by Ron Potter
Image source: Javier Ignacio Acuña Ditzel, Creative Commons

Image source: Javier Ignacio Acuña Ditzel, Creative Commons

Steven Tyler of Aerosmith and I have at least two things in common:

  1. We were born on the same day, which makes us early Baby Boomers.
  2. We both have lovely and talented daughters. (I have two.)

I hope you can meet my daughters someday. They are indeed lovely and talented.

But in this blog, I want to talk about one of the interesting aspects of being (and experiencing the life of) an early Baby Boomer.

Living through four “ages”

We’ve now lived through at least four identified “ages.” I grew up in a small rural town and during high school, it was not unusual to see more tractors in the parking lot than cars and trucks. We were at the end of the agricultural age when chores had to be attended to before school and livestock and fields had to be tended after school. We grew up in a very different age.

But we were also in the prime of the industrial age. For the first time in history, you could work  a career on manufacturing assembly line and live a comfortable middle class life.  That opportunity ended in this century when middle class wages for assembly work now require higher technology skills.

Information Age

And so many of us have made our careers working in the information age: finances, legal, information technology, and engineering.  We’ve moved information and data around which has proved to be very valuable over the last 30 years.

Beyond the Information Age

But, we have now moved beyond the information age and into the conceptual age (named such by Daniel Pink in A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future) which calls for a completely new set of skills.

And the cycle of change? The agricultural age lasted about 12,000 years. The industrial age about 250 years, the information age, about 40 years, and the conceptual age? Maybe it’s already being replaced and we haven’t recognized or named it yet. But what’s obvious is the increased pace of change and how much that’s going to force us (individually and corporately) to re-invent ourselves on a regular basis.

Are you ready for that much and frequent change? I think my generation (And Steven’s) is the last to actually have a choice.

My lovely, talented daughters and their spouses won’t have that luxury.

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