I don’t care what your politics are or where in the world you are living, I just don’t buy this ‘unemployment is bad’ story. 

The reality is that before the industrial revolution the full time work force was pretty small.  OK, so I didn’t check the census on this, but I’m pretty sure.  The amount of part time and temporary work was very high – yes pretty much everyone leant a helping hand when crops needed to be harvested and things got busy.

Then came the industrial revolution.  Factories. Smog in the air. The transition to new manufacturing processes in the period from about 1760 to sometime between 1820 and 1840. This transition included going from hand production methods to machines, new chemical manufacturing and iron production processes, improved efficiency of waterpower, the increasing use of steam power, and the development of machine tools. It also included the change from wood and other bio-fuels to coal.

All good stuff.

Best of all, it was the birth of the Blue Collar worker.  Society needed working class people to perform manual labor. Blue-collar work involved skilled or unskilled manufacturing, mining, sanitation, custodian work, oil field, construction, mechanical, maintenance, technical installation and many other types of physical work. Often around something physically being built or maintained.

Then we got too big for our boots. We got clever. Along came automation and computerization.  We worked out how to remove the weakest link in blue collar work… the person. 

Today we see that the people at the ‘hard end’ of mining, oil field, technical installation and so many traditional blue collar jobs are very skilled, talented individuals with high levels of education.  That’s because the ‘grunt’ has been removed and automated.

What’s the result? People whom traditionally have been in blue collar work, who are not skilled enough with enough education to stay in these highly specialized fields, now move to white collar positions. Initially we had them ‘filing’. We had lots of paper, and this was pretty easy. But, soon enough, our love of trees and increased virtual data meant less filing was really required. So we moved these (now white collar employees) to the next best thing - customer service. 

Oh dear.

Let me make it clear… customer service is EVERYONE in your company that actually deals with a customer… in person, over the phone or by electronic communications.

Let look at the facts again… temporarily helping out in fields bringing the crops in, working a machine (in what must have been a noisy environment), filing (often in some lonely file room) and now we want these people to be customer service!  Come on.

Only the managers are to be blamed.  Hire the right team for customer service, not on price.  So, a few more people are out of work… it is the way it used to be. Hire less people, but pay them better. You know it makes sense! 

We all want better customer service, so make sure you offer it in your company.

What do you think?

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