As the world changes, so must the skills that keep it running.
While normal and inevitable, it’s hard not to feel strange seeing this change happen. I’m equal parts excited and dumbfounded at the idea that my granddaughter will learn to write on a tablet instead of a pen.
But even she may have to learn a hard lesson sooner rather than later. A new report reveals that, with imminent improvements to technology and automation, nearly 60% of Australians are studying for jobs that may no longer exist in 10-15 years.
I feel for them. As a photographer, I once learned to love the darkroom. Bathing in that deep light, acclimatised to the oddly comforting smell of those developing fluids, I found my own form of meditation and solitude.
There was so much to savour in the process: the often-imperfect art of recording exposure times; the risk and reward of knowing the final quality of a photo hinges on your good work. I honed my craft over time, knowing perfection was impossible, but always striving to get as close to it as I could.
Now, of course, this particular life skill is obsolete. A few hobbyists are keeping the darkroom dream alive, but for all practical purposes, this craft no longer has a reason to exist.
This is normal. Change is the way of the world, just as every generation before us has had to learn. And frankly, it’s absolutely wonderful that photography has been made easier, cheaper and more accessible to all.
Now I’m no longer working in the field, it shouldn’t bother me. My skill brought value to those who needed it, when they needed it. It helped shape me into the person I am, and that will never change. Now I no longer need it to make a living, it shouldn’t affect my livelihood. Most importantly, my passion for photography remains.
And yet… every now and then at 2am, when logic is less likely to be in control, that nagging concept can keep me up at night.
It seems the one life skill that will never be obsolete is the ability to accept change.
Do you worry about the skills you grew up learning, or the field you later trained in, becoming obsolete? Or have you learned to accept it? What advice would you have for those training today?