Journal

A Tale of Two Working Worlds


So I’ve been thinking lately about job security and how the world (or at least the US) is changing in terms of job options and job security. I think we are watching a transition, traditional business and traditional jobs are becoming obsolete. That obsolescence isn’t because they are naturally becoming less important but because the business models that surround them are too dated and self destructive to survive. Bank Bailouts, major companies that are two to three times (or more) my age suddenly shutting down, these things and more hint at an old regime dying and a new one sparking up.

The new world is creative. We’ve reached a point with technology that you can take various talents and deliver them to many people with relatively minimal effort. People who sew, or make videos, or like teaching can do so without being barred by old conventional systems. In some ways this is abused but the ways it gets abused are fairly classical and will likely be around long after they’ve lost relevance (one could argue they never had relevance). Conspiracy theorists and con artists will continue to exist but I don’t think they are prevalent enough to actually be worth investigating when understanding this new paradigm shift.

DFTBA, Penny Arcade, The Escapist, and other sources are great examples of this new world. If you are someone that has a traditional job, shop clerk, support staff, janitor, you are dealing with the hyper optimization of your field. Companies have worked hard to pay people the least amount of money while demanding an ever increasing work load. There is no ladder to climb for most businesses because you are not put in a position on merit you are put in a position on family connections, personal connections, and other largely non-relevant factors.

If people ended up leading companies or nations because they are good leaders you wouldn’t see huge problems in capitalism and politics. Businesses wouldn’t need bailouts, countries wouldn’t be defaulting, and important functions wouldn’t be getting cut to help maintain the connections system.

It is likely that the majority of people will find themselves most happy in the creative world. Writers writing, singers singing, crafters crafting, and so on. This world will repeatedly be poked and prodded by the traditional work world that continues to scratch and gnaw to maintain relevance. But I do believe these failures in the business world, the venomous nature of publicly traded companies, and all that goes with it are examples and symptoms of irrelevance struggling to not be so.

We don’t still use giant cellphones, computers can fit in your hand, we no longer exclusively travel by horse, people can fly from country to country, and people have landed on the damn moon. We change and sometimes a few generations will find themselves right in the middle of large transition. These generations have the most interesting (and maybe sometimes unfortunate) experiences because they get to watch the old powerful systems start to collapse beneath their inability to balance short term greed with the long term evolution of the world technologically and philosophically.

I guess in the end what I’m saying is you should probably learn what you are good at and get really good at those things. If you must work somewhere work somewhere that doesn’t have a “too qualified to work here” clause. And if you ever find yourself in fear of losing your job you are not in the right job. Start looking immediately and either make a job of what you are good at, or find a place that can’t do without your talents.

Anything less will likely leave you less happy than you could be and inevitably spiral into mental and physical health problems.

I suspect both I and my children will not see the stock market and business change dramatically but I’d be super surprised if I lived long enough to see the world of my grandchildren and it was not dramatically different in the way it handled distribution of wealth and how it recognized what is and what is not legitimate work and legitimate business leadership.

What we are watching now are the actions of a caged animal. Censorship, harsh budget cuts, propaganda, and so forth. These are just old irrelevant people with old irrelevant beliefs trying to convince the world they still have a purpose before they die. History will likely not look kindly on those of them that scream loudly enough to be remembered for anything at all. (That was a difficult sentence to parse.)