Dr. Anthony O. Parker

According to the Roman General Vegetius, the time to prepare for war is during peace (Si vis pacem, para bellum). Thomas Jefferson is credited with saying, “The eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.” In the Hebrew Bible, Joseph recommends to Pharaoh that Egypt store grain during seven years of plenty to prepare for seven years of famine. To quote John Kennedy, “it is an unfortunate fact that we can secure peace only by preparing for war.” The motto of the boy Scouts of America is “Be prepared.”

It may not seem immediately apparent, but each quote or statement is applicable to the contemporary circumstance related to workforce preparation. Of course, those who do not have a rewarding career because they do not have the needed skill sets should attend a Technical College System of Georgia institution (preferably Albany Technical College).  However, those who are doing well should prepare for the inevitability that the landscape around them will change and that their skill sets will become stale or obsolete.  Not only will the skills needed to secure a rewarding career change, the change will occur at an accelerated pace.

Before the earth cooled, when I was a high school and college student, I worked several jobs that didn’t provide an income sufficient to comfortably raise a family.  I worked as a department store salesclerk, a fast food fry cook, a construction laborer, a school bus driver, and a hospital orderly.  The skill sets that I learned in order to become an accountant were obsolete 10 years after I graduated from college.  The same can be said for almost every baby boomer. Workforce obsolescence is likely to occur at a faster rate for generation Xers and millennials.  Continued economic affluence can only be achieved through adapting ahead of the technological curve.

There is as much uncertainty in a strong economy as in a weak one.  Complacency is the enemy.  One can never over prepare for change.