Monday, March 13, 2017

O-Ring jobs

Are you an O-Ring? Or in an O-Ring job?
Many professionals are.

What's an O-Ring job?
You are an indespensible link in a chain, or an important tile in a mosaic (system) whose performance bears on the performance of the entire chain or system. You do a poor job, or you do a really good job, and the larger outcome notices.

The name comes from the O-Ring failure in the shuttle disaster of the mid-80s when a simple part of the system failed and led to a catastrophic failure of the whole system.

Here's a key point:
As the other links become stronger, the value of increasing your strength increases also. Ergo: smarter links puts pressure on you to become smarter so that you are not the weakest and least valuable. 

TED talk
In a TED talk, David Autor gives us a rousing explanation of why there are more jobs now than there were 100 years ago, before the modern age of personal productivity, and why most of the jobs are now O-ring jobs.

He starts with the startling statistic that the number of bank tellers (people) have increased over the past generation, in spite of ATM machines. But their cognitive skill requirements have demonstrably increased.

Never Enough
He goes on to explain a second principle (O-rings being the first) which he calls the "never enough" principle, summarized as "Invention is the mother of necessity"

Give it a look

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