Monday, August 23, 2010

The Plucky Shall Prevail

Every week now you can hear heartbreaking stories of people who have lost their jobs of 20+ years. You hear of the best college graduates struggling to find the job for which they have received extensive instruction. You hear of the unemployed expert.

What do these stories mean? Should we hear them, shrug our shoulders, and reassure ourselves that our jobs will never be lost? While these stories could be merely temporary phenomena due to the recession, it is hard not to wonder if these anecdotes represent a shift in what is expected out of a worker. Something that makes me think this is a real shift is that I can't come up with one refuge for a no-worries income. The old income panaceas of the ivory tower, the government, the law, and medicine have all been either hurt by the market crash and the following budget shortfalls, or watered down by the health care legislation. These career routes may still employ segments of the labor force but they certainly don't create an inner-tube large enough for all to float on.

So, we--both we as society and we as young individuals--seem to be at somewhat of a crossroads: Shall we continue with the old plan of specialization and seek security in new areas of expertise, seeing that the old professions are exhausted? (This line of thinking explains the wide array of new PhD subject areas.) Or, shall we seek to be the plucky, quick-learners and self-teachers that mostly want to make a honest living and will learn what needs be to do so?

1 comment:

Sarah Orme said...

this sums up my own conflict exactly. well said.

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