Scott Simon had a short piece this morning (September 1, 2012) on NPR’s Weekend Edition Saturday: Without A Career, How Do We Know Who We Are? Though it is primarily about how we find and define our identity through our work, this piece reminds us that the world of work is dramatically different than it used, to be. It is not as secure, does not pay as well, and it is not as lasting. Here are two key excerpts:
But the economic crisis may have hastened a change he says was already under way: more people living with a series of short-term jobs, instead of lifetime occupations.
A study by the National Employment Law project released this week found that most of the millions of jobs lost since 2008 paid solid, middle-range wages; most of the new jobs filled have been in the low range.
Professor Acemoglu (Daron Acemoglu, the MIT professor who won the John Bates Clark medal for economics) says it is hard to cite a human occupation that might not be replaced in time by highly informed software. Technology has already arrived that could soon lead to driverless cars, pilotless planes and robotic surgeries. Some M.B.A.’s and M.D.’s may feel as vulnerable as millworkers.
Whatever else business leaders and political leaders and every other kind of leader thinks about, this is the concern that needs our greatest attention: “Where will the jobs be?” As Jim Clifton of Gallup wrote in The Coming Jobs War, the number one thing people want and need is a good job. From the book:
If countries fail at creating jobs, their societies will fall apart.
And what is a good job? Again, from Clifton’s book:
A good job is a job with a paycheck from an employer and steady work that averages 30+ hours per week.
And such jobs are harder and harder to find for a growing number of people. This is the need of this hour!