The Ability to Write Well is “Unobsoletable”


Do you ever worry that your hard-earned skills might become obsolete? That someday, the knowledge that you have worked so hard to attain, the abilities you have toiled to hone and polish, might suddenly lose their value in the workplace?

You should.

Recently, a small print shop in my city closed because the owner was retiring. He sold some of his printing equipment to another printer, but he said that one of his machines was destined for the scrap heap: his Linotype machine. Modern printers never use Linotype anymore. The technology is obsolete. And so is the skill of operating a Linotype machine.

During the 70s, punch cards were one of the primary ways of recording digital information for computers. Keypunch operators experienced a meteoric rise in demand as businesses and government agencies began using computers, followed by a rapid drop in demand as better means of recording and storing data became available. The skill of operating a keypunch machine is obsolete.

You could fill a hefty book with a list of skills that the business world once valued highly, but that are now only seen as antiquated curiosities. Skills that are closely tied to a specific technology are only in demand as much as that technology is.

Some skills, however, are not tied to technology, and are thus change-proof, or unobsoletable.

You can’t stop change. If you want to make your career change-proof, you need to build a good set of change-proof, unobsoletable skills. Writing is a good one to start with.

The skill of using words well, the ability to write a message that gets results, is change-proof. No matter how much technology has changed, the basic principles of writing have remained constant. Your ability to write will never become obsolete.

(This post is a response to a challenge from Scott Ginsberg: Invent a new “-able” word, to help celebrate the release of his new book, -ABLE.)

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This entry was posted in Business writing, Growing as a writer, Writing is good for you and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to The Ability to Write Well is “Unobsoletable”

  1. Pingback: What I’m Reading — Aug. 18 | Scott Kuhagen

  2. Robin Newcomb says:

    In order to keep your skill from becoming obsolete, you need to keep up the ever changing world. One thing that will never become obsolete is your ability to write.

  3. Fantastic new -able word. Also, I’m currently working on an article for my campus paper about the unobsoletable quality of writing. I’m an English/secondary education major, and I’m finding that writing is something that will either make or break an individual in my eyes. It’s sad but true.

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