What can Dylan and Thoreau do for you?


The American singer/songwriter Bob Dylan never wrote or performed a song called "Age of Destruction” yet is often quoted as doing so. Barry McGuire's 1965 Dylanesque sounding million seller "Eve of Destruction" is responsible for the confusion.

Despite this confusion, "Age of Destruction" is an apt description of the current US job market, although "Age of Disruption" would be a better one. In the United States, job creation is at its lowest point since 1980 and job destruction attributed to disruptive technologies, continues to rise.

 In this "Age of Disruption" more people are working part-time; mainly because they can't find full-time work. The number of US part-time workers has almost quadrupled since the 1950s & now stands at almost 2.4 million.

 Disruption equals change and the days of one company careers are long gone. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the youngest baby boomers (born between 1957 & 1964) held an average of 11 jobs between ages 18--44. Predictions for the current generation of workers suggest that 15-25 jobs per lifetime will be the norm.

 Depending on your age and circumstances, all of this might seem exciting or depressing. ‘Reinvention’ can be a life-changing or threatening word. The message is clear: professional reinvention will replace what was, essentially, a refreshment of professional skills.

 Long before this age of reinvention, the American author, poet & philosopher, Henry Thoreau wrote--according to some modern sources--"Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined." What he actually wrote was a little different "...if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavours to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in the common hours."

 Thoreau isn't saying that success comes easily or quickly, as the modern version of his quote suggests, rather he's saying that confident action and envisioned effort will take us closer to our dreams than we think; a subtle but significant difference that highlights the folly of trying to reinvent ageless wisdom. Reinvention applies to the present, not the past.

 Reinvention is personal, and often the reward for effort and delayed gratification. In an era of instant gratification this can be hard to accept by a different generation of workers.

 Bob Dylan recognised that "The Times they are a Changin'", but Henry Thoreau wrote "Things do not change; we do."  Times may change but only we can reinvent ourselves.


 "Be not simply good--be good for something."

Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), American author, poet & philosopher.

 Are you as good as you can be, free to be better than you are?

 "Our truest life is when we are in dreams awake."

Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862).

 Do you live and take your dreams to where it seems they can never be?

 Charles Kovess

Australasia’s Passion Provocateur ©



Charles Kovess CSP is a lawyer, successful businessman, professional speaker and passion provocateur.

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