Changes are picking up speed.
By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Counselor.
There have been a lot of changes over the last three years.
Over the last three years, my life has felt like someone took everything I knew and everything I do, put it in a box, and tossed it up in the air. I’m still waiting to see where all the pieces fall. I suspect you’re feeling a little unsettled, also.
Regardless of how you feel about things politically or how you were affected by Covid and society’s effort to adjust to a new virus, this experience has changed a lot of the things we do and has fundamentally changed some of us.
We can’t go back to the past.
No matter how much you miss the “good old days,” once things change, we can’t put them back the way they used to be. Trying to cling to the past can rip your arm right out of the socket. I know many “old people” miss the good old days. I know that’s not a politically correct term, but I think I get to say that because I’m one of those “old people.” I can see my seventy-fifth birthday approaching with the speed of a flying bullet. While I can keep up with some of the young folks these days, my philosophy tells me the best way to stay ahead of the Grim Reaper is to keep moving forward.
I’m not sure the good old days were all that good.
A lot of people are talking about the good old days, by which they mean four years ago before Covid happened. I’m old enough to remember when we didn’t have to deal with all this modern technology and its constant change. But then I remember using an outhouse instead of the bathroom and having television for only an hour or two in the evening if the weather was good. I also remember when getting polio meant paralysis or maybe the rest of your life in an iron lung.
You have to take the bad with the good.
Some days my cell phone can be a downright annoyance. People call me all day long. And there are those text messages, along with a trillion notifications about new emails. It can be frustrating. But I remember breaking down along the freeway and having to walk for several miles to find a phone. I sure like having a communicator device in my pocket when there’s an emergency. I just wish the technology people would stop changing things just for the sake of change.
Which direction is all this change going?
Predicting the future is never certain. I have a crystal ball, several of them, as a matter of fact. They look pretty, sitting on the shelf. But all of mine are far too cloudy to see much of anything, especially when it comes to the future. Still, I have some thoughts about what’s going to happen in the future. I’m going to briefly outline the changes I expect us to grapple with, but it’s also my intention to write some additional blog posts about these changes in more detail. My to-do list has been growing far faster than my ability to do.
The way we interact with other people will continue to change.
Across my lifespan, I have gone from a home with only one crank phone on the kitchen wall to a world where preschool kids are carrying around cell phones and tablets. The computer used to be a man in an office, down at the end of the hall, who added things up with a manual gear-driven adding machine. My first “modern” computer was one of those RadioShack TRS-80 model 2 with a whopping 64K of memory. Please don’t tell the technology police, but the desktop computer I’m using today, with its terabytes of external memory, may shortly be a candidate for a museum.
Does anyone besides me remember when you had to wait a week or maybe two for a letter to go from the Midwest to California? My mother would wait for a letter from my grandmother and then write a reply. We then had to take it to the post office and pay extra to have it sent “airmail.” Today people in other countries all over the world can call you instantly. Unfortunately, the scam artists and the telemarketers can also call you at virtually any time of the day or night. The ease of communication comes with its challenges.
The world of work is changing.
The term “remote work” meant something totally different only a few short years ago. For example, remote work might have involved a news reporter or correspondent sending in his dispatches from another country. If the company wanted you to work remotely, they put you on a boat or, more recently, an airplane and sent you there. Because of Covid, many people are working remotely either by computer and email or virtual communication.
A warning here to “Zoom.” You’ve done such a good job of allowing people to do simultaneous video and audio communication you’re in danger of the name of your company becoming a generic term for any video and audio conferencing platform. But then Coke had that problem when everyone wanted to refer to all soft drinks as a Coke. And I think most people still refer to all tissues as “Kleenex.”
The impact of Covid on the world work has not ended.
I think we’re in for some struggles ahead. Some companies and people are embracing remote work. Some worksites are marching to the flag of “everyone needs to get back in the office.” The issue of remote work is likely to reshape not just the way we work but the kind of work we do.
I see the same thing going on in education. I teach at a couple of different colleges and had to go through the frantic move to online education and now the move back. Some students and, more importantly, some schools, do better when education is delivered in the classroom. But some students do better when they learn online and online schools are flourishing.
There’s also the question of whether remote work and learning impair people’s social skills or do they require us to develop a whole new set of social skills.
We need to address the problem of burnout.
When the concept of burnout was first explored it was related to social work and was called “compassion fatigue.” We now know that it happens in a lot of other professions. If it’s caught in the early stages, burnout can be treatable. But most of the time, people simply soldier on until they can’t. I think we will see a loss of talent in several fields due to burnout from the stresses people experienced during Covid.
Creativity is changing.
The rapidly accelerating progress of technology is also impacting how we do many creative things. For example, video production and graphic design can be done far more easily from the kitchen table than they used to be done at commercial enterprises. The increase in e-books has opened the field of writing and publishing in ways we don’t yet even fully understand. And, of course, the chance to express your opinions by writing a blog, creating a podcast, or making a video is far more common than ever.
More to come.
Having said all this, I just wanted to let you know there will be more posts on these topics.
Also, I decided to separate my blog posts about mental health and having a happy life from the posts about my creative endeavors, including writing and making videos. You’ll see the links to my new writer blog (davidjoelmillerwriter.com) and my YouTube channel below. I am making all these changes in preparation for the rapidly approaching new year.
Best wishes, and please be happy and healthy.
Does David Joel Miller see clients for counseling and coaching?
Yes, I do. I can see private pay clients if they live in California, where I am licensed. If you’re interested in information about that, please email me or use the contact me form.
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