RE: From Buggy-Whip to PET Scanner

Subject: RE: From Buggy-Whip to PET Scanner
From: Ed Gregory <ed -at- gregorynet -dot- net>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 19 Mar 2002 11:36:47 -0600

If Joe has all those skills, then lacking detailed product knowledge in
other fields will not keep him from being employed in a different arena.
However. . .

Joe might have been top dog where he was. Starting in a new market, a lot of
his previous content-specific value is off the table. Joe will have to get
accustomed to the idea that a big part of his value to the market is gone.

Sally, on the other hand, spent her career as a contractor and has had
exposure to many different types of content. Her tool-specific and writing
skills are similar to Joe's, but she never spent as much time on a single
assignment and therefore never became a SME in her own right.

When an employer looks at Sally and Joe for the same vacant position, which
will they choose? How long did it take Joe to become the buggy whip expert
that he was? How quickly can Sally, or Joe, ramp up to be productive in this
new environment?

Another issue for some employers: If Joe has done things one way for 20
years, how easy will it be for him to adapt to the way things are done here?
Sally has been in and out of many environments and the fact that she is
still kicking shows she knows how to adapt.

If I am a company that plans to make nothing but PET scanners for the next
30 years, then I might need people like Joe. But can I get them for less
money than Joe might think he deserves?

If I am a company that expects to shift products, perhaps dramatically, in
response to market conditions, then I might place greater value on track
records like Sally has.

(The same is true when your value is based in part not on
technical/engineering/product knowledge, but based on
institutional/process/industry knowledge.)

The bottom line: Joe will have to understand that his next job is very
likely to be a step or two down in pay because a large chunk of his
commercial value went out the door with the buggy whip.


-Ed Gregory


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References:
From Buggy-Whip to PET Scanner: From: karen_otto

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