Look, a job weirder than mine....

When I tell someone I work in Competitive Intelligence, their eyes tend to narrow, as if they're trying to figure out exactly what that is, and (assuming they know a fair amount of business) how come they've never heard of it before.

It could be worse, I suppose. I could be a futurist:

Anyone can declare himself or herself a futurist. For people who make a living at it, the vagueness of the job title can be disconcerting.

"Some people who do futures work don't want to tell others they are futurists," said Jennifer Jarrat, APF chair and a partner at Leading Futurists LLC.

Perhaps with good reason. People who make sweeping statements about the future can see their words come back to haunt them. Such was the fate of millennium-bug alarmists when Jan. 1, 2000, calmly arrived. Or of Ken Olson, founder of Digital Equipment, best known for saying in 1977, "There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home."

Jarrat thinks futurists would be well-served by instituting a certification process that establishes one as a professional. It might include an exam or education- and work-related requirements. But certification is still in the discussion stage. Hines is betting it will be in place by 2009.

Read more here, but isn't it a little funny that a professional futurist is "betting?" Doesn't that somewhat defeat the point?


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