When was the last time you multiplied a 4 digit number with a 3 digit number without a calculator or an electronic spreadsheet? Other than, of course, multiples of 100?
- If someone asks this question to a smart, young professional, chances are that you would get a reply: “What is the big deal? Why should I do the math in my mind or with a paper and pen, when I can get the result quicker using the calculator app in my smartphone? And I don’t have to recheck the math that way”
Gone are the days when people marveled at the computing capabilities of shop-keepers, traders and mathematicians. If you have an easier, quicker and more reliable way to solve a problem, do it that way. That would, justifiably, be the attitude of the smart generation.
Now the catch is here…. This smart generation is getting to the workplace now, if not already. They are used to smart applications for personal and domestic needs, and are well connected with their peers using social media. They might work as understudies to senior managers and accountants who are soon to retire.
The senior generation, by virtue of having worked in the same industry/organization/department for years, had information at the back of their mind. They often knew more than what their computers would know. They took the important decisions themselves and merely executed those decisions using the available software. These were the indispensable professionals. They could not afford to take long vacations without getting calls from the stakeholders at office. If there was an Exports shipment happening late night, they needed to stay awake and ensure that the pre-shipment documents were error-free and in line with the Exports Letter of Credit kept in one among the many office cabinets. If the tax-filing deadlines happen to be on a weekend, these trusted seniors could still be expected to stay late on the Friday to finish their tasks using multiple spreadsheets and manual registers. They thought they sacrificed their time and personal comforts for their work. To be fair, they did not have smart robust applications to rely upon. They didn’t demand it either.
What of the smart generation who are soon going to take their place in office?
The smart professional may not stay in the same department – leave alone the same organization – for long. They would look for smarter alternatives if their job required manual computation, adherence to unwieldy SOPs and/or glorified word-processing or spreadsheet activities. They would look for a creative work atmosphere where their time can be used for problem solving and innovations.
They would expect automation, collaboration & smart-apps to be in place, without worrying if these would reduce their indispensability at work.
Beware, the smart workforce could question the status-quo and trigger the transition to the intelligent enterprise sooner than later.
And yes, do not expect them to do math at workplace using a glorified calculator.
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