reinventing jobs, careers, and the w

"Reinventing Jobs, Careers, and the World of Work"

It's a good sign when three posts emerge in the same morning of blog reading, all ready to be packaged up in a theme. It probably indicates that all the cultivation I have been doing of online relationships -- reading blogs, adding some to my Bloglines so I can read them again later, commenting, making my own posts -- is starting to yield fruit for intellectual enjoyment.

Click through to read on if you'd like to learn more about Diane at Zaadz, Miriam Peskowitz, and David Pollard, and how the different social movemnts they help to advance are converging.

Diane over at Zaadz writes about how the young are heeding the call to reinvent work. She provides a few juicy quotes from a book by Matthew Fox, but I was most struck by her optimism at the end of her blog entry, where she notes:

I heard a story on public radio this morning about how workers are asking for less pay and fewer responsibilities in exchange for more free time. Now that's my idea of progress!

Yes, indeed. There's a movement underway in our youth, who are insisting, even as they enter the workforce, that they will not become slaves to their careers. We used to denigrate this movement, calling the youth "slackers", but they have not gone away. Instead, they are growing in numbers. In my classes this semester, you can see the trend in the companies that my students have chosen to profile as prospective employers. Yes, some of the companies are dominated by managers who boast about "work hard, play hard" cultures... and yet, I was delighted to see students choosing other types of employers, as well. One team profiled a local salon and spa which celebrates a wonderful work environment and flexible scheduling, called Ladies and Gentlemen Salon and Spa, which features Aveda products. Another team profiled a local brewpub and beer bottler where care for the environment, the shift beer, and reasonable work hours are valued more highly than take-home pay; in fact, this is the third time in six years that my students have chosen to profile the Great Lakes Brewing Company.

The second post I'd like to highlight is by one of the emerging leaders of that political movement, Miriam Peskowitz. over at Playground Revolution. Recently, Miriam threw the phrase her critics used against her back in their faces, insisting that she is not an "entitlement whore" for arguing that the costs of childcare should not fall on workers alone:

Businesses have lobbied long and hard to keep us believing that. The result is a god-awful system of childcare that's often not so great for kids, anxiety-producing for parents, and pays its own workers barely livable wages.

Yes, indeed. there is a movement fermenting among parents, as well, both secret agent moms and rebel dads, to help reshape the workplace in family-supportive ways. If employers really value our work, and the profits we help them to generate (or the services we provide to society, when we are working in the public or nonprofit sectors), they will face the music. Childcare is a collective responsibility. If Corporate America wants us to contribute to the economy through paid work, so that they can purchase goods and services and help keep the economy growing, then Corporate America is going to need to shoulder some of the responsibility for ensuring that quality, affordable childcare becomes available on a much more widespread basis.

On the other hand, perhaps we don't want to be so tied into the world of paid work (even if those in Corporate America might like us to be). The third post I'd like to highlight is by David Pollard, one of the leading lights of the environmental sustainability movement. In his latest offering, David writes passionately about creating the jobs we want. Don't be surprised when you click through to read, though -- David doesn't start with the easy how-to advice. He's no Marcus Buckingham, telling you how to break the rules while playing by the rules.

Instead, David begins with a deep critique of our current capitalist society, exposing its insidiousness by elucidating the ways in which our education systems brainwash us into accepting four myths of civilization. He goes on to summarize arguments about our addiction to consumption and how unsustainable it makes our economic-growth-driven society. Not one to leave us in the depths of despair, Pollard offers a way out -- redesigning a whole new economy, a sustainable one, in which we can each create the livelihoods that we were meant to pursue. He writes that this will require incredibly hard work:

When I talk on this blog about making a living writing, or in innovation consulting or environmental work, I am inundated with e-mails asking me: How do I get a job doing this? They don't want to hear my answer -- that the existing economy doesn't value this work, and that they need to do the nearly impossible work necessary to create a role for such meaningful work in an entirely new economy.

Yes, indeed, this seems like work worth doing -- and work that we will not pursue in isolation. There are movements afoot, and they are converging in the most intriguing ways.


Trackback URL for this entry is:


Post a comment