Newsletter 03: Have you joined the club?

These days, I feel like Uatu the Watcher (the bald entity from the Marvel Universe), observing two parallel universes.

Apologies to the MCU for the shoddy photoshopping.

In the past week, three friends told me they got retrenched. They are trying to figure out their next steps.

On the other hand, I see friends who have never been retrenched continue living their stable lives.

But for how long? Slowly, but steadily, the number of my Gen X friends moving over from The Fancy Breakfast Club to The Retrenched Club is growing.

And unless you are forcibly moved to the latter (like I was, in 2022), you don’t realize the two universes exist side by side.

I never imagined that my late 40s would be marked by knowing so many friends who got retrenched. It’s like the old days when everyone watched the same drama series on free-to-air TV and could chit-chat about it in school.

Our conversations have gone from “Oh no, what happened?” to “It happened to you too?”

Furthermore, I believe that this growing job disruption is not a cyclical thing like recessions, but a mark of a new industrial age.

What does the new age look like? What will we do for a living? Is Skynet online yet? Is it Ian or Gen AI writing this paragraph?

We Gen X-ers have gone through an incredible number of technological advancements in the past 30 years. I mean, we went from cassettes to CDs to iPods and then to Spotify. We went from licking postage stamps to dial-up email to ICQ to Messenger and then to WhatsApp.

But none of these tech advancements threatened our jobs and way of life.

I am doing something about the future for myself and for others though! Do check out what I’ve been doing in the past week:

We did it! The first ST Masterclass in Gen AI

30 plucky students who now wield text prompts like martial artists.

CNA Commentary: Only the paranoid will survive

Screenshot of my latest media commentary on disrupting yourself.

Teaching graphic design to future marketers

More layoffs = More profits?

Table from Scott Galloway’s article “Corporate Ozempic”

That’s all for this week! Thank you and God bless you.

If you get retrenched, please don’t hesitate to reach out to a friend, or even Mr Uatu Tan here.

Originally published 25 Feb 2024 on LinkedIn. Subscribe here.