Editorial: Graduates are competing with ‘smart technology’

Editorial: Graduates are competing with ‘smart technology’
May 21
00:00 2015

It is college graduation season in Winston-Salem. As students complete their college educations, it’s time for them to head into another season of their lives. What do they have to look forward to?

A lot depends on their majors. Even more depends on their personal A choices

The college experience gives students what they put into it. College is not a place that spoon-feeds students. The fact that students graduate from college at all is an accomplishment in itself because students pretty much have to educate themselves with all the distractions surrounding them. Professors are paid to provide knowledge but students can learn that knowledge or throw it away. What happens next depends on whether students can navigate through a world without a professor but instead a boss. The world will not have grades but instead personnel reviews. It will not be a professor who gets paid but instead the student. Will students be able to make the transition?

More importantly, will there be jobs for students who graduate?

Dr. Mike Walden with the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service says that recent research shows more businesses are replacing workers with machines and technology. He says that “smart technology” – where the technology can gather information and make decisions – is helping employers decide to “hire” technology over human beings.

One example is Wells Fargo. News reports say it’s assessing its business model to determine where it can use technology best and thus eliminate human positions, which cost more money in the long run because it has to pay employees year after year and offer them benefits. (Wells Fargo declined to comment on the report.) With smart technology, the “employee” can be depreciated, thus saving the company money.

The college graduates of today could be unemployed tomorrow, replaced by a device that costs less to use and uses its “brain.” What’s a college graduate to do in that case?

Employers make decisions on what’s best for their businesses; college graduates have to remember that. Employers need to make money; college graduates need to remember that. To get that first job out of college, college graduates have to think like employers. They need to be flexible enough to discover the needs of employers and present their skills as a way to help employers.

That’s where personal constitutions come into play.

College graduates should know that they might have to sacrifice some things early in their careers to reach their goals. There will need to be a paradigm shift.

Refraining from staying out late could be one sacrifice, if they know they will need to start out earlier get to work on time. Restraining from texting and talking to friends during a meeting (unlike what might have happened during a class in college) might be another sacrifice. And taking a selfie when the boss it talking to you could be a sacrifice.
College graduates should not take finding a job lightly. And once a job is found, they should not take working on a job lightly. Jobs are hard to come by these days, unless you are a “smart technology” job candidate.

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