There isn't an App for Common Sense

Anyone who knows me will be sick to death of me constantly saying ‘what an age we live in’ – but I think it is something that really needs saying. I believe we live in the greatest time ever at the moment, anyone can do anything. We can do more on a phone now than what we could do on a computer a decade ago, and every day technology is getting better and better.

I discussed this with a friend over the weekend; he is currently making a living doing something that pretty much did not exist even 5 years ago. In fact, to some extent he has created his own field, and carved a unique niche for himself. We both agreed that now is a time of tremendous opportunity, but in equal measure it is going to be a difficult time for a lot of people. The lost generation he called it, and basically anyone who doesn’t have an initiative.

The problem is that we have become so reliant on technology that it has removed a great deal of need for common sense. I’m as guilty as anyone in lots of regards here, I will sometimes have Sat Nav on for journeys I know like the back of my hand, and now and then if I happen to have a  calculator to hand I find myself using it for 3+4 type equations. I am also pretty useless when it comes to fixing things in the house or car.

Imagine what it’s like to be a kid growing up now, there is pretty much an app for everything, they can have their hand held for most of their life. Having the world literally at ones fingertips is surely something previous generations would have hoped would one day happen, but I wonder if this will be to the detriment to initiative and innovation?

My friend was telling me about how he recently saw several applicants for a job he was advertising. In one such interview, the applicant’s mother not only went to the interview, she answered all the questions on behalf of her son. She could have solved the mysteries of perpetual motion or cured cancer for me, the sheer attendance of this guy’s mother would still be an instant no for me (As would if anyone over the age of 18 turned up with one of those National Records of Achievement in their hand).

I don’t know which is worse, a son who asked his mother to go in the first place (or didn’t have the stones to say you are not coming) or a mother who thought it was a good idea. God help that lad when he starts chasing girls.

I get some similar stuff myself, though nowhere near as bad. Not a week goes by without someone I don’t know emailing me out of the blue asking ‘got any jobs going at PokerNews?’ without any examples of previous work, or suggestions for possible work they could do. I used to reply, but now just ignore. I might be being harsh (and it also doesn’t help my budget for commissioning work is close to zilch), but I had to put much more effort than that to get noticed when I was a fledgling poker writer, so I don’t see why I should spoon feed anyone work when there are so many talented writers out there struggling (That’s why I am pleased to see guys like Matthew Pitt and Lee Davy getting quite a bit of work these days, two chaps who make their own luck).

It is not difficult to start a blog just to get started in writing something, but a lot of these guys are asking me to commission the first thing they have written ever. Maybe I am old fashioned, but I don't think I would have ever applied for a job with literally no reasons to employ me in my covering letter. 

Probably the most depressing story I have heard was one from a friend who worked for the job centre a few years ago. She ended up essentially writing out the answers to an application form on behalf of a young girl who had no idea what to put. This girl went on to copy & paste those answers on every future application form she filled in - even though the questions were different. So a question about team work on a future application would get an answer about a time she helped a customer, a question about working in a high pressure environment would be answered with the girls hobbies and interests, and so on. 

This is indeed the greatest time to ever live, anything is possible (and most of which can be done with an iPhone).  But now is also a time when the playing field has been levelled like never before, so competition is fierce. I do worry that having endless opportunities like this is creating overly high expectations for a lot of people, while at the same time demotivating them to actually knuckle down to some real effort and initiative, because they are used to having apps do these things for them. 


Matthew Spurr said...

I could not agree more with this post. It is a topic that has been on my mind constantly over the last year or so, I fear for the lack of initiative of the future generations, but at the same time wonder how bigger part initiative will play in living our lives 20 years hence.

Great post, thanks!

Dikkie neuf said...

Gor ne jobs goin as a rita?

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