Life

Career Growth Primer. The Malthusian Approach

The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function - Professor Albert Bartlett.

I came across Prof Bartlett’s work while I was googling how to better explain percentage changes to my sixth grade daughter recently.

Having taught Maths and Physics in the UK many moons ago I was intrigued enough to check out some of the Professor’s ideas on sustainable growth.

And that got the coaching part of me thinking about career growth from the micro (employee or solo business owner) right the way through to the macro world of multinational corporations and the global economy.

You might recall I used this quote from Ricardo Semler’s book,The Seven Day Weekend:

Success is measured not only in profits and growth.

Now most people readily understand the reality of profits and losses, whether it be as an employee, business owner or shareholder.

But what about growth?
(And in particular, percentage growth rates.)

Skim through the transcript of one of Prof Bartlett’s talks on Arithmetic, Population and Energy<* and then, if you are so moved, watch the video. (2018 Jan. Update: The Posterous service is no more.)

Quite amazing stuff.

Aside from the geopolitical, economic and environmental implications of his arguments, consider also how the math might apply to your own specific career niche.

In other words, is it possible to follow a career path that honours sustainable growth and also makes a profit?

The question is of interest because I’ve at least one midlife coaching client who is grappling with just that dilemma.

Your constructive comments and suggestions are very welcome.