Despite the fact that there are 56 million of us out there, people continue to struggle both with the definition of a knowledge worker as well as with self-identification.
In a casual setting, such as a pub, a factory worker would have no problem introducing himself saying, "I’m a factory worker." But could you picture a knowledge worker making a similar introduction, saying, "Hi, I’m a knowledge worker"?
While he doesn't go into the depths of Shawn Callahan's Our need for the knowledge worker is over, the article strikes several similar themes.
Re-reading the article, I am reminded of the struggle I had as a child in describing what my father did:
Jack: "My dad's an engineer."
other kid: "As in trains?"
Jack: "No. A chemical engineer."
other kid: "What is that?"
Most people (kids) I encountered had no idea what that meant. When I mention chemical engineering (my training) today, most of my contemporaries at least know that it is a difficult field of study if not exactly what they do. Even though Drucker coined the term years ago, it hasn't pervaded culture like many other job-description terms have. As a result, only a limited number of people have a good feel for what it means. And even then we struggle articulating the sense - keeping it buried below the surface.