Do you worry about your skills becoming obsolete? 30



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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Now, of course, this particular life skill is obsolete.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?

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. No My hard fought for skills today are totally relevant and designed my life that way. I can work a couple of days a week and make a difference. It makes me feel useful. It will also pay for a few things.

  2. I learnt Pitman shorthand and in my job used it for many years then the dictaphone was brought in and I used that and shorthand took a back seat. If I am in a hurry and making quick notes I revert to shorthand but have lost the speed. Its all progress.

  3. My IT skills have not become obsolete but have been undermined by the Federal Govt’s 457 visa policy allowing in cheap IT labour from overseas. I can’t get work so I am retraining in aged care and looking at moving in to wellbeing coaching. You have to stay flexible in order to survive but it’s very annoying when you have good skills and experience that you know can be used. This is not progress – it’s deliberate policy to push down our wages and standard of living.

  4. Very hard to see thousands of jobs being displaced! With Robotics improving all the time a lot more skills will become obsolete. When we visited a mechanical music museum overseas recently,the skill and the precision of keeping those amazing machines working is about to be lost with the owner becoming too frail,and no one stepping up to learn the trade. So many master crafts like that are just dying out. Sad.

  5. My work skills with computers continues. I now help with my granddaughter’s computer class at school. It’s a bit frustrating though with classes too big, too high goals expected from mere kindies and some computers in the lab needing optimising to speed them up. I can’t say much in case I interfere too much and really have to stay away from some of the naughty kids. Don’t want their parents after my blood. But my granddaughter appreciates me helping, not to mention the poor teacher.

    5 REPLY
    • I have started :Support A Reader at my local school. It’s actually Support A Listener as I listen to the children read, who are behind in the reading skills. So far children gorgeous & I am getting so much from it.

    • Fortunately, they have enough parent help for their reading program, but hardly any for computers. Just love reading to my grandkids. So enjoyable and both have a real love of books.

    • Helped out with computer classes when my son was young and it was very frustrating indeed. A lack of patience from the kids didn’t help.

    • Lyndl Graham, don’t you just love the ones who won’t let you control the mouse for a little. Or the one who goes clicking all over the place so that no amount of “undo”s fixes the problem. I’m going to start using all those shortcut keys to trick the little devils, just to stay in control.

  6. As a traditional signwriter I hate the way modern signwriters produce boring uninteresting signs by pushing buttons on a computer

  7. Somedays I wish my skills would become obsolete.ha,ha.I started in the building game in 1968 and am still sub-contract bricklaying.My body is telling me it’s almost time to give it away but I’ve always loved the game and will keep going as hard as I can for as long as I can although I do welcome the change when we carry out contract building jobs which we do in conjunction with the sub-contract work.We find it very hard to get enthusiast kids keen on our game these days.

  8. Just remember that our children do not know more than us, they just know different, more current skills.

  9. I added technology into my work in 2009. Now I work as a networker online and face to face. I am a digital nomad as I can work from anywhere in my state. My workplace office is nearly 300kms away .
    At 53 I thought I was to old to learn how to use a computer. But I am glad I did.

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