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The Workplace Is Changing — Rapidly

Technology is playing the biggest part in those changes.

Sometimes changes come slowly and then at other times changes zoom ahead. ChatGPT is a zoomer for sure! Look how rapidly it has taken over many functions and how people are using the technology.

But it wasn’t ChatGPT that got me thinking about changes over the last 30-plus years. What got me thinking about it was a retirement announcement and ceremony for an emergency management staffer at a small city or county. What I noted was that she started that job/career as a “clerk typist.”

Yes, back in the day, you would handwrite the memo or paper that you were preparing and pass it to a clerk typist to type up! Then you’d have to proof that copy and, ideally, only minor corrections would be needed. If you were not the president, you might even make a “pen and ink” correction on the final copy and send it on its way.

Another significant — or insignificant — change that is happening is the lack of a physical address on business cards. People are working remotely now and some don’t even have an office address. They are totally remote. I guess mail for a company or department might go to a P.O. box somewhere.

I’ve noticed this because I like to send a handwritten notecard to people I meet, and these days there are many people without that physical address on their business card.

And, of course, there are digital business cards now. The problem is, for me anyway, they get sucked into my database of 13,000 contacts and how do I find them? It is not like thumbing through the cards at the end of the day, making notes on what you talked to them about, etc.

I guess it is adapt or retire — you make the choice!
Eric Holdeman is a contributing writer for Emergency Management magazine and is the former director of the King County, Wash., Office of Emergency Management.