An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. --Australian adage

Night Owls, You Are Now Employable: How Technology Is Changing The Workplace

First Posted: Aug. 3, 2015, 6:13 p.m. CST
Last Updated: Aug. 3, 2015, 10:26 p.m. CST
A trade network between Europe and east Asia

If you are familiar with the ways of Silicon Valley, you will be quick to recognize that the last few decades have scratched the surface of what will be a transformation in the efficiency and fundamental style with which we live and work. With cots and hammocks in the office as nothing more than R&R to spur the next burst of productive energy, your boss sees the glass as half full, of wine or coffee, or both, and he cannot scorn you at the next meeting, but instead, must give you the incentive bonus you deserve, directly tracking both the productivity boost that is your individual contribution of performance enhancement, as well as the metrics thereof, which you espoused and pioneered as your department brain child. Yes, the entrepreneurial spirit is now alive and well within the corporation.

But like I said, this has only scratched the surface. It’s one thing to be able to take naps at work. It’s quite another to call your own home a global office. If this sounds like delusions of grandeur of would-be entrepreneurs who need to justify their frugal means, instead focus on the big picture. Even the largest and most successful companies are penny pinchers. That’s how they became rich. You don’t become rich by giving away all your money. That comes after you become Bill Gates.

Economic incentives aside, the mere idea of a positive ecological impact, to a righteous treehugger, will suffice for motivation. Let’s try to ignore protectionist rhetoric for a moment and focus on putting the emphasis on “globe” in global. We don’t have to invent Dr. Manhattan to make great minds think alike. When there is one good answer, great minds usually tend to agree. Rarely do mathematicians ever argue with each other, or, better yet, yell at each other. That’s because saying it louder doesn’t make you less wrong, or more right. So when every wage-earning American starts complaining that their jobs are being shipped to India, we should tell ourselves to look at the bright side. A better job awaits. Moreover, labor price differentials will reach a new equilibrium. But this is not running a sweatshop. We’re talking Information Science jobs here. This is the creative destruction that rebrands the entire field of economics from the dismal science to, somehow, a light at the end of the tunnel. Literally. If you dig deep enough, you’ll eventually get to China.

The number one reason individuals end up hating a particular city is… you guessed it… commute. Smelling smog and smoke for 3 hours a day (that’s 1.5 hours each way), with other cars honking and yelling at each other for no better reason than boredom itself, since it’s too cramped for road rage to have its way, and you can’t even read a book because the person behind you NEEDS you to inch forward each and every time traffic moves a mere 15 feet, is enough to make even bus and truck drivers unhappy. And that’s their job.

We can do better. The internet has already revolutionized how we socialize, entertain ourselves, and shop. But the internet is more than just the world wide web. The internet is just that: a global INTERconnected NETwork of communication hubs and nodes. This phrasing views it as more than just a bunch of websites that you can go to, as great as all those websites can be.

Imagine a corporation that doesn’t even have any offices. No cubicles, no corner office envy… heck, no commute. You don’t have to be late for work ever again. When your alarm clock goes off, hit the snooze button a few times to make up for the fact that you don’t have to sit in traffic in the mornings, and then, instead of hitting the snooze button, hit the Enter button which automatically signs you into your 8am conference call, while you’re still in bed. It’s okay, nobody can see your bed head hair, and no one can smell your morning breath. That’s because you’re at home. This is the new face of the Internet Office that we haven’t even scratched the surface of.

Night owls, you are now employable. Sure, your Friday night clubbing activities used to throw you off of your sleep routine, just like jet lag, on a weekly basis. Of course sleep comes before work. What’s the point of working if you’re 30 IQ points stupider because of lack of sleep. Now, night owls can have their cake and eat it too. Instead of your management job getting outsourced to India because your party-sleep schedule affected your performance adversely, now you just work India's hours. How’s that for a global readjustment? I call this labor arbitrage.

Well, maybe you, as the indispensable middle-manager got to keep your job, but the team you are managing got outsourced. Shit happens. But even shit is useful. Ask any ecologist. Plants need manure. But while your India team is speaking Java, Hindi, and XML, your outsourced domestic team is speaking English and doing all of the brilliant arguing and debating that was so essential to mission critical decisions that needed to be made. Again, the grass is always greener on this side.

This article was written by Brehnen Wong.

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