When Stubbornness Can Be A Virtue

My friends know me as somewhat of a self starter, someone who tends not to let the grass grow under his feet as well as someone to whom “age is just a number”. And, if the truth be told, those qualities have defined me for as long as I can remember. Furthermore, I rather like that defining. It also needs to be said that I never had to make any effort to be that sort of person, it came rather naturally; something that also pleased me. However that naturalness itself may have been a problem, reflected in the fact that, much as the description is, I hope, still accurate, I actually have to work at it more these days. I now have to push myself when, in the past, something inside pushed me. Unfortunately for me, this situation is compounded by the workings of the modern world and its all pervading technology. At which point, perhaps I should explain.

Now if you are, shall we say, of a younger generation, the workings of that technology come naturally to you. After all, you have grown up with it whereas those of my generation have had to adapt to its workings. Don’t get me wrong, I relish learning (what my lovely wife calls my “insatiable quest for knowledge” and another of those defining qualities). However, difficulties arise when you’ve just mastered the latest “whatever” only to find that it’s been replaced by an even newer one. This one, although not necessarily making the previous one obsolete, certainly making it the one that those you wish to influence then use; at least until the next one comes along, next week.

Now this in itself, although a nuisance, is surmountable. However the immediacy of the technology, allied to its replacement of human beings as a direct contact, further complicates matters. Practically, it adds to, rather than subtracts from, my working day. Contact telephone numbers, for example, are often buried deep in websites and, when finally responded to, merely have another computer generated message designed to further complicate matters. Moreover the sheer volume of e mails that people receive leads, it seems, to there being ignored. And, as if that wasn’t enough, cutbacks in staff mean that those who remain are busier than ever, working longer hours for a, not exorbitant, wage. Consequently they get swamped within a system that is less amenable to personal human intervention. Indeed, when I do get a personal and prompt response, it comes as quite a surprise. There’s a PhD in there about “The unforeseen consequences of a technology which, while purporting to make things easier, is actually having the opposite effect”!

So, for me, the past year has been one during which I’ve had to push myself harder to get results. Fortunately I can be one very stubborn bugger, which is why I’m still here plugging away. Long may it continue.

 

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2 comments

  1. Some of your concerns on modern technology were foreshadowed by Mike Cooley in his book artitect or Bee. Probably very dated now as tech has moved at such a pace but the general premise holds tech just makes us work harder .

    1. I’m sure I met Mike Cooley or, at least, one of the Lucas Aerospace Shop Stewards’ Combine when, whoever it was, spoke at a conference I organised in Harrogate in 1979 on the future technology. I remember arguing for, what is now cal’ed, a Universal Basic Income, for everyone as, according to Professor Tom Stonier of Bradford University, there would be hardly any need for anyone to work! Read about it in my book, The Real Big Society”. Hope you’re well.

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