Unemployment and education

They say that the future for American workers – a future that is pressing closely on our present – is one in which people can expect to change jobs many times during a career.  The old days of working 30 years for one employer are gone.  Certainly many thousands are now dealing with the syndrome, as unemployment reaches 14-year highs.

I know well the shock and confusion that ensue when challenged to reinvent yourself as an adult.  We work hard at learning a profession, we carry debt from university training, we put in our time, and then in middle age it’s suddenly necessary to do it all over again. 

The reason why this is so difficult is that we’re conditioned to think we grow up to become something.  Identity is absolutely dictated by occupation.   And the reason why this is so, is that we’re just not very good at knowing our souls.  We don’t know who the hell we are, and so accepting that we’re a dentist or insurance salesman or hamburger flipper is the best handle we can get on our identity.

I had the dubious honor of working in public schools for some time in past years, and it’s certainly no wonder that we have such wimpy self-knowledge.  Public education does its best to wipe out curiosity about the self; studies in creativity are regarded with the highest suspicion.  Creative disciplines are relegated to the wierdo art room, and the vast majority of students are not exposed to the profound resources of the creative self.  Students are encouraged to learn about the world, but they’re given no instruction in learning about the self.

As with so many of our current issues, change in education is the only sustainable way to effect change in the larger society.  For those of us advancing on seniority, however, dealing with today’s challenges has to happen without a foundation in creative discipline.  I sincerely hope that this experience will cause changes in the way we teach young people, so that middle age identity loss becomes a thing of the past.  And I continue to be committed to exploring in this blog ways we adult Americans can reconcile economic demand with the dictates of soul.


1 comment so far

  1. todaysfreelancer on

    I completely agree with your statement:

    “Public education does its best to wipe out curiosity about the self; studies in creativity are regarded with the highest suspicion.”

    We teach our children to go to school to get a good job, we teach them to love self over everything else, and we push them to accept the world the way it is thus stiffling their own creativity.

    To the rest of what you said. As far as unemployment is concerned there is another factor – yet most people haven’t realizied it yet.

    There is no reason to be unemployed in the world of today. We live in a society where we are connected and anyone can turn an idea, a hobby, a passion, etc into a full time job.

    All it really takes is an idea, and possibly $9.95 a month hosting fees to market your idea to the world (perseverence as well).

    At any rate, great post. Thanks for sharing, it’s nice to find content on WordPress that actually gets you thinking in the morning 🙂


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