The Age of Common Sensors

The Age of Common Sensors

There was an article in this past Sunday’s New York Times that proclaimed we have entered the “Age of Sensors.” The ability of machines to tell exactly where we are, what we’re doing and what (the machines think) we need is – at least according to the author – ushering us into a world of “digital smarts.”

For example, there’s company in California that’s now developing a sensor-based system which will tell when you are in a certain room of your home and adjust the temperature there to your preference, but leave the rest of the house hotter or colder, as appropriate, to save energy.

It got me to thinking about how useful it would be to have such sensors in our careers. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to tell when your boos or mentor was going to be fired or your employer was going to be sold or liquidated or your career field was about to become obsolete? Having that kind of heads-up would certainly qualify for “digital smarts” in my book.

But, of course, that’s also a pipe dream. A machine may be able to determine our presence in a room, but it can’t make judgments about the course of human events. Only “human smarts” can do that. And, in today’s uncertain world, we need to use that ability.

Conducting regular environmental scans – assessing the health and prospects of our boss, our employer, our industry and our profession – is now a core activity of career activism. No one’s crystal ball is infallible, of course, but we can tell a lot from the trends that are visible and the questions that others are asking.

In a sense, we have to become the sensor in our career. And then, we have to act on what we sense is going to happen. Because when we do, we take control of the change in our career rather than being taken for a ride by it. We create the only real and lasting form of security you can have in today’s world of work – “common sensors.”

Work Strong,

Note: To read more about Career Fitness and Career Activism, get my books, Work Strong: Your Personal Career Fitness System and The Career Activist Republic. Both are available at, in many bookstores and on