I live in Indiana, where there is a major push to diversify the labor base away from the previous focus on the state’s manufacturing heritage.  The new companies who fit this mold seem to be mostly technology or life sciences companies.  These companies offer greater opportunity and usually higher wages.  However, they also require a whole new skill set from the alumni of auto manufacturing.

Here is a simple quiz from Seth Godin regarding simple productivity tools for knowledge workers:

  • Can you capture something you see on your screen and paste it into Word or PowerPoint?
  • Do you have a blog?
  • Can you open a link you get in an email message?
  • Do you read more than five blogs a day?
  • Do you have a signature in your outbound email?
  • Do you have an RSS reader?
  • Can you generate a PDF document from a Word file you’re working on?
  • Do you know how to build and share a simple spreadsheet using Google Docs?
  • Do have a shortcut for sending mail to the six co-workers you usually write to?
  • Are you able to find what you’re looking for on Google most of the time?
  • Do you know how to download a file from the internet?
  • Do you back up your work?
  • Do you keep track of contacts using a digital tool?
  • Do you use anti-virus software?
  • Do you fall for internet hoaxes and forward stuff to friends and then regret it?
  • Have you ever bought something from a piece of spam?
  • Can you imagine someone who works in a factory that processes metal not knowing how to use a blowtorch? How can you imagine yourself as a highly-paid knowledge worker and not know how to do these things… If you don’t, it’s not hard to find someone to teach you.

How did you do on Seth’s quiz?  I said “yes” to every question except for the last 3:

  1. I use a Macbook pro without anti-spam software
  2. I do not forward internet hoaxes. And if I am really honest, I lose a little respect for people who send them to me.
  3. I have never bought anything from a piece of spam.