Monday, May 19, 2008

A Marketer Reflects on Today's Office Workers

Seth Godin is a very successful marketer and author. Seth writes only one or two blog posts each day and each one is a gem. I'm sure that Seth's intended audience is not teachers and school administrator's yet I always seem to find something on his blog that has meaning or value for those of us in public education.

Today Seth Godin wrote a blog post, The New Standard for Meetings and Conferences in which he describes what conference and meeting attendees expect from their interactions with you. Seth writes "if you're a knowledge worker, your boss shouldn't make you come to the (expensive) office every day unless there's something there that makes it worth your trip. She needs to provide you with resources or interactions or energy you can't find at home or at Starbucks." Seth's argument is predicated by the idea that if video conferencing, online conversations, and collaborative online work spaces are constantly improving then what is the point of coming to an office if you're not going to be having interactions that cannot be had electronically?

Seth's blog post
got me thinking about the type of work that our students are going to be doing in the future. With transportation costs reaching all-time highs and web conferencing technologies constantly improving our students' future employers are going to expect that they can be productive using web-based applications. If an employee can, in a knowledge or data driven job, work from home or Starbucks and sporadically meet with colleagues then there is little financial incentive for the employer to maintain a large, permanent, cubicle-based office. The future work of our students is undefined, many will be working in jobs that don't exist today, preparing them to work with web-based technology regardless of content area has to be a function of today's teacher.