Careers: An Invention of the 20th Century (Pt. III)

April 27, 2009

The Myth of Career

I’ve noticed something about the way we do our life.
We are in love with formulas.

We believe, often in vain, that if we have a formula, a ten step plan, then our lives will be wonderful. We will be content and fulfilled.

formula

I’ve noticed that because of the way that the 20th century changed how we live and work, there is a formula that we believe still is relevant.

This formula is something that Robert Kiyosaki talks about in his book Why We Want You to Be Rich and Rich Dad, Poor Dad

Go to school
Get good grades.
Go to college.
Get a good job.

But as Kiyosaki states, this formula, like the model of a safe, wholesome corporation, passed away with the 20th century.

Over the next twenty years, the landscape of America is going to shift dramatically. The way we’ve done things is and will continue to be rethought and reworked, and if we aren’t paying attention, I believe we (thirtysomethings and younger) will be in a world of hurt.

The truth is, we better be working on a different formula.

Slip Sliding Away

So how will things change, how will they look, and what can we do today to change and accept where we are heading?

We have already seen the first signs of a dramatic shift. We’ve seen (and possibly experienced firsthand) the downsizing and outsourcing. I’ve heard it said that if you haven’t been or don’t know someone who’s been let go because of “streamlining” or “downsizing” then you probably are fresh out of college and new to the work place.

Up until very recently, the United States has been the strongest and most economically robust nation the world has ever seen. But, again, the balance is shifting. The US is losing its jobs at an unprecedented rate to foreign countries, especially China and India. The value of the dollar is falling while the price of everything, especially oil, is skyrocketing.

What is happening before our very eyes is nothing less than the disappearing of the middle class in the US.

No One Else Will Do It For You

Because of our 20th century model of work and life, we have been trained to believe that we are entitled to good jobs, good pay, security, and respect. It’s just something we deserve.

But that’s not the way the real world operates.
While that may have worked in the past, it won’t work in the future.

The world of the future is a place where success means being adaptable and innovative. It means realizing that the only real security in the workplace is in the skills, talents and knowledge that you possess.

Your most valuable asset in the future is your individuality and ability to distinguish yourself from the crowd. Yes, this is important now, as well as the future, but in the new landscape, your value will come not from the piece of paper you have from your college, but from the way that you implement and customize the knowledge and experiences you’ve acquired.

As corporations continue to get streamlined and lighten their loads, there will be fewer and fewer good jobs available. Jobs that are available will pay barely enough to provide any kind of lifestyle other than one of just squeezing by, living paycheck to paycheck.

Does that sound like the kind of life you want to live?
Neither do I!
So what do we do?

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Careers: An Invention of the 20th Century (Pt. II)

April 27, 2009

Setting Sale For Corporate Safety

Why would people decide to quit working at a business that had been in their family for generations in favor of a large company that they had no connection to?

Easy, stable money.
Running a business is hard work. Ask any entrepreneur.

As our society shifted towards the easy money big business provided, we began to get very used to the comfort and perceived security that these business provided.

Old buildings

And during the 1950’s, when corporate life was settling in as the norm, people craved security, comfort, and consistency. They had just come through a very long and difficult war (WWII), and prior to that, The Great Depression.

So the corporate model was very appealing in that if a person desired, they could simply plug themselves into a giant machine – become a cog – instead of dealing with the trials and fluctuations of owning and operating their own business.

But was this a deal with the devil?

Rockin’ The Suburbs?

Fast forward to today. Our world is ruled by corporations. Our governments are in bed with the biggest and the richest. We build cities and communities around them. We take out massive loans and then spend the best years of our lives working to pay those loans off just to be able to stock these companies.

And for what?
The suburbs?

Look, I’m not saying work isn’t important. I’m not saying a job isn’t necessary, because we all have to pay bills and have food.

I’m also not putting down our great grandparents, grandparents, and parents for their work ethic and life decisions. We all have choices to make that we feel are best for our families. In the case of our great grandparents and grandparents, this industrial revolution was a new and exciting direction, one full of promise and stability.

What I question is the horrible systems that we seem to believe are necessary for our survival, systems that we accept and exist within that are corrupt, dehumanizing and destructive.

Systems that are meant to control you and strip you of the very essence of your humanity.

SpaceBankers on This Human Epic

The Dirt Speaks

As human beings, our very nature is to discover, to question, to explore, and to create. We are happiest and most content when we are free to pursue these desires.

Up until the 20th century, we were hunters and fishermen and farmers and pioneers. We spent our lives setting out for new lands and charting the earth and discovering new ways to live in freedom.

Hands in dirt
We sunk our hands into the fresh dirt and felt the cool air on our face as we watched the sun come up over the mountains. We felt and listened to our world, and in these encounters, we discovered something of utmost importance.

We discovered ourselves.

The New Corporate Landscape

But here we are now, at the dawn of the 21st century, and we seem to be more lost and unsure of ourselves than ever before. We are no longer living in our grandparent’s version of the corporate world that offers stability and the image of security.

The corporate world we live in has become all about the bottom line, and I think most of us recognize that, even if we are working for one. We won’t kid ourselves. We know that the gold watch for our 50 years of loyal service to the same company is now a myth.

We will never know pensions. Downsizing and outsourcing, yes. Pensions, not likely unless you are working for the government.

Our reality is that we will change careers five to seven times in our life. Not just jobs within our field of expertise. Careers!

Our world is one where we will always be networking and keeping our feelers out, because the fact is, in today’s corporate landscape, tomorrow is not promised. Just ask the former employees of Enron or General Motors or the thousands of other companies that canned major portions of their workforce to “stay competitive and streamlined.”

For much more on the current and future corporate landscape, I would highly recommend the book Why We Want You to Be Rich by Donald Trump and Robert Kyosaki.

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