Seth Godin just published his 5000th post (!). This is obviously an incredible accomplishment, but what caught my attention was a link to another post nominated by one of his friends as outstanding amidst Godin’s many publications. It was published in 2004 and is short, so I am quoting it in full:
Hard drive space is free
Wifi like connections are everywhere
Connections speeds are 10 to 100 times faster
Everyone has a digital camera
Everyone carries a device that is sort of like a laptop, but cheap and tiny
The number of new products introduced every day is five times greater than now
Wal-Mart’s sales are three times as big
Any manufactured product that’s more than five years old in design sells at commodity pricing
The retirement age will be five years higher than it is now
Your current profession will either be gone or totally different
Isn’t that amazing?! Literally everything Godin predicted is trending in the direction he pointed out in 2004! But Godin’s last point, “Your current profession will either be gone or totally different,” prompted me to reflect about my own professional life. I’ve been a librarian for 16 years now, academic for the most part, but for the last 1 ½ years in a K-8 school. And I’ve grown in each role.
The field of education has been greatly impacted by the digital revolution. Recognizing this shifted paradigm, teachers and librarians have been at the forefront of using the new tools to advance their professions and student learning. While the digital revolution has always had its pessimists who predicted a future without books and libraries, the role of librarianship has certainly evolved. New products and new practices constantly influence and change the nature of our work–almost always improving it. In 2004, when Godin posted the above, I was employed at a community college. At the time, the college administrators and their hired architects designed a new “Information Commons” (aka library space) with only very little real estate for book shelving. Why? Well, because books would soon gain antiquity status. As my much wiser students would say, “Never!”
To rephrase Seth Godin’s closing question: What if I had not embraced change? My profession would not have been gone, but I would no longer be a participant. I would have become extinct, irrelevant. But I would also have missed a lot. Professionally, my job continues to change and I’ve learned to embrace this. Is there anxiety and trepidation at times? For sure! But our brains are not wired to be dormant. I watch our students who are not afraid to try new things, who are curious and creative and willing to try. As a good friend of mine has said many times over: Learning is messy! But it can be so rewarding and fun.