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As appeared in ISHN "FDO"

October 2006


By George J. Hayward


Continuing on from the theme of my previous article, "The (Safety) World is (not yet) Flat", ISHN "FDO", August 2006. 

If true, one must consider one's profession, it's past, it's current state vs the future....excuse me, the very NEAR future. Your professional job, as we know it today, likely will be gone in, say - three years or much sooner! 

WOW !       But, true.....

Bruce Merrifield, made a similar such statement 10 years ago, in July 1996 during a SEDA Annual Meeting, in Vail. (I wrote a response article in "FDO" January 1998 - if interested I can eMail it to you). The key then is the same now....."As we know it, (your job) today."

Back to the present.  It's nice 'n easy to make these statements but, like most people who criticize some of today's current issues, they, don't "have a plan" or solutions. But, to that I offer the concept of the "versatilist". This comes from Thomas Friedman's terrific best seller, "The World is Flat".

"A Versatilist, is someone who can be a specialist for a particular discipline, while at the same time be able to change to another role with the same ease."

"Versatilist" is a good description of the new professional in today's world.

A word, in my profession, I have thought describes a good professional committed Manufacturers' Representative - Veratilist.

The term "Versatilist" was first coined in an article from Gartner (Gartner, Inc. Technology Consultants & Research Group) where it states:"Versatilists are able to apply a depth of skill to a progressively widening scope of situations and experiences, equally at ease with technical issues as with business strategy." "Those 'Swiss Army Knives' are versatilist." "A trend away from more adaptable and versatile".

In any job today, we are all asked to do more, learn more, know more for the same or less compensation. In any job today, we DO - or will be - without!

To survive the future we have to learn more, evolve more, do more, give more, be more to have more.....we must be versatilist.

If a professional safety salesperson, QSSP (Qualified Safety Sales Professional) and/or CSP (Certified Sales Professional) is needed.

If a professional Hygienist - you must be a CIH (Certified Industrial Hygienist)  Today you also need to be a CSP (Certified Safety Professional). Maybe a CHMM (Certified Hazardous Materials Manager), too.

If a professional Safety Engineer - you must be a CSP (Certified Safety Professional) but now maybe a CIH, CHMM or same qualifications as a professional Hygienist.

If a professional in the safety industry, today you must belong and be involved in your professional trade associations.

I'm not referring to the old, "Jack of all trades - master of none", at all. That isn't a versatilist or even close. You now need to master more than ever and apply the qualifications into perceived values to your personal professional makeup.

The world is changing.......becoming "Flat" or more level. Recognize, accept it and adapt, become a "Versatilist".

Think about it

George J. Hayward

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