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The rate of change is accelerating. My knowledge base that had been good for five years is fresh only for one year. Most of the people I know from my working days have a very short working life unless they change to an entirely new discipline. In most cases, it is a testament to their success; they have made their positions redundant. I have learned that economic theory only works in a stable environment. I have not yet learned how my colleagues are going to fit into the new outsourced economy. I have learned that it is now time to retire from industry (and so diminish the unemployment numbers by just one). I have learned that we are all indispensable. I have learned that the U.S. is going to be in world of hurt economically and politically if it allows core competencies, technology, and research to be done by cheaper, offshore industries.

Brian Cawley

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A version of this article appeared in the March 2004 issue of Fast Company magazine.