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MANAGING ONESELF: REVOLUTION IN SOCIETY

MANAGING ONESELF IS BASED ON THESE REALITIES: WORKERS ARE LIKELY TO OUTLIVE ORGANIZATIONS, AND THE KNOWLEDGE WORKER HAS MOBILITY.

Managing oneself is a REVOLUTION in human affairs. It requires new and unprecedented things from the individual, and especially from the knowledge worker. For, in effect, it demands that each knowledge worker think and behave as a chief executive officer. It also requires an almost 180-degree change in the knowledge workers’ thoughts and actions from what most of us still take for granted as the way to think and the way to act.

The shift from manual workers who do as they are being told – either by the ask or by the boss – to knowledge workers who have to manage themselves profoundly challenges social structure. For every existing society, even the most “individualist” one, takes two things for granted, if only subconsciously: Organizations outlive workers, and most people stay put. Managing oneself is based on the very opposite realities. In the United Stats MOBILITY is accepted. But even in the United States, workers outliving organizations – and with it the need to be prepared for a second and different half of one’s life – is a revolution for which practically no one is prepared. Nor is any existing institution, for example, the present retirement system.

ACTION POINT: Begin thinking of a second career you find fulfilling. List areas of work that interest you, including that of a volunteer in a nonprofit organization.

A NONCOMPETITIVE LIFE

NO ONE CAN EXPECT TO LIVE VERY LONG WITHOUT EXPERIENCING A SERIOUS SETBACK IN ONE’S LIFE OR IN ONE’S WORK.

Given the competitive struggle, a growing number of highly successful knowledge workers of both sexes – business managers, university teachers, museum directors, doctors – plateau in their forties. They know they have achieved all they will achieve. If their work is all they have, they are in trouble. Knowledge workers therefore need to develop, preferably while they are still quite young, a noncompetitive life and community of their own, and some serious outside interest. This outside interest will give them the opportunity for personal contribution and achievement beyond the workplace.

No one can expect to live very long without experiencing a serious setback in one’s life or in one’s work. There is the competent engineer who at age forty-two is being passed over for promotion in the company. The engineer now knows that he has not been very successful in his job. But in his outside activity – for example, as treasurer in his local church – he has achieved success and continues to have success. And, one’s own family may break up, but in that outside activity, there is still a community.

ACTION POINT: Develop an interest that does not subject you to the competitive pressures you face at work. Try to find a community in this area of outside interest.

“What she really loved was to hang over the edge and watch the bow of the ship slice through the waves. She loved it especially when the waves were high and the ship rose and fell, or when it was snowing and the flakes stung her face.”

KRISTIN CASHORE

“And a special thanks for not burning up the whole ship. Including yourself, you daft bum-rag.”

SCOTT WESTERFELD

“A sailor chooses the wind that takes the ship from a safe port. Ah, yes, but once you’re abroad, as you have seen, winds have a mind of their own. Be careful, Charlotte, careful of the wind you choose.”

AVI

“A whale ship was my Yale College and my Harvard.”

HERMAN MELVILLE

“Penny: I feel just like Mother Teresa. Except for the virgin part. That ship sailed a long time ago.”

KALEY CUOCO

“Friendship is the best kind of ship.”

JENNIFER LANE

“In the empty immensity of earth, sky, and water, there she was, incomprehensible, firing into a continent.”

JOSEPH CONRAD

“I do not like to sound discontented neither,’ said Pullings, ‘nor to crab any ship I belong to; but between you and me, Doctor, between you and me, she is more what we call a floating coffin than a ship.”

PATRICK O’BRIAN

“Mr. Bird flung his food away and leaped to his feet, glaring around at no one in particular. ‘I am not a dog!’ he shouted agrily, his gold earrings flashing in the firelight.”

TIM POWERS

“Shandy looked ahead. Blackbeard, apparently willing to get the explanation later, had picked up his oars and was rowing again.

‘May I presume to suggest,’ yelled Shandy giddily to Davies, ‘that we preoceed the hell out of here with all due haste.’

Davies pushed a stray lock of hair back from his forehead and sat down on the rower’s thwart. ‘My dear fellow consider it done.”

TIM POWERS

“If I don’t see the reason of someone being my friend, chances are, we are just floating and I need a ship to set sail.”

MICHAEL BASSEY JOHNSON

“Lovers navigating with different moral compasses causes the relation ship to sail in circles.”

KHANG KIJARRO NGUYEN

“Finnick looks at Johanna and raises his eyebrows. He will not go forward without her.”

SUZANNE COLLINS

“Every ship needs a port because unlike ships waves never get tired!”

MEHMET MURAT ILDAN

“A ship with a hole underneath is doomed to sink! And ignorance is also a hole in the brain, a big hole!”

MEHMET MURAT ILDAN

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