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Living in a museum- The job and career market

Updated on November 4, 2010
The image of success needs to be seen by individuals, not by interpreters
The image of success needs to be seen by individuals, not by interpreters | Source

The traditional job is on the way out, just as millions of people, particularly in America, hit the wall of an employment market which is overloaded with costs and complexities. The average workplace environment is a stress factory, where some group of geniuses apparently decided long ago that all forms of incentive should be removed from it. Wages are dismal, and opportunities for advancement are largely theoretical. Commuting is an expensive hobby at the best of times.

All these well known facts have had exactly no impact on employment training and career development information. As usual, the people who provide the productivity and profits are the last to be considered. This has been the case for the vast majority of people for decades. The irony is that if workers were given any form of incentive, they’d be far more productive.

Instead of which, they’ve got a museum to live in. Getting hired is about a thousand times more difficult than getting fired. The workplace has become a maze of cheapskate alternatives to success. the never-to-be-sufficiently-damned management “culture” has turned promotion on merit and achievements into a popularity contest. Most of the management is now a form of bureaucracy, where staff are just a nuisance. Businesses are apparently being run by cattle who provide no service of value being paid multiples of the wages of the people who actually provide the profits.

Antique job design

Job design, and the concept of value of work, is almost unknown. One of the reasons for the endless restructurings and changes to multi skilling requirements is the apparently total incomprehension of job design values.

For example:

If you pay someone X, and you get less than X in work value out of the job, it wouldn’t matter if you had Da Vinci doing that job, it’d still be worth less than what you’re paying.

The idea is that you pay someone a percentile of the value of the work. If the job is designed to provide 100X value, you can afford to pay the person doing it 10X, and you’ll get the best people available competing to do the job. Continue to pay X, and you’ll get the has-beens and wannabes, not the people who can actually do the job well.

The success mythology

Even the common concept of success is now an ancient cliché/myth, provided by the 1950s. Career success is still for some incomprehensible reason linked to the corporate image of a “class” of managers and business people who no longer exist. People are raised to be part of a vast, largely theoretical society in which rewards are supposedly limitless, but virtually non-existent in fact.

This is largely thanks to appalling job and organizational design, and the absurd emphasis on a form of “management” which doesn’t in fact manage anything but itself. The real daily work of managing actual business is done much further down the food chain, by middle line managers and supervisors, who are only a few steps up from their workers.

The prehistoric approach to careers and qualifications

Success is also supposed to come from qualifications. Nothing could be sadder than this particularly misguided approach. Useful qualifications are staggeringly expensive. The work consumes enormous amounts of time, which has to be managed with those other human inconveniences, living, working and eating.

Career development, particularly through qualifications, has become an obstacle course. The world desperately needs more trained people. So what’s the most time consuming, expensive process on Earth? Professional career training, and it can take a decade or so for even a talented, highly motivated person to achieve any sort of career status with it.

These valuable people aren’t usually allowed to work at their own speeds, particularly at degree level. Everything has to rattle along at paper speeds, through a clutter of admin and ponderous organizational situations in which the overworked people who assess their work battle tides of situations based on being under-resourced, despite the huge money which flows through the tertiary education sector every second.

In practice, a basic degree course consists of:

  • A given amount of information
  • A given series of stages of knowledge and skills development
  • Interactions with teachers and lecturers
  • Practical work requirements
  • Quality controls on standards of student work

The administration is extremely expensive. The problem is that there’s no real need to run large institutions of people in tertiary education in that form any more. Colleges create ongoing and ever-rising overheads for education. It’d be better to do as much as possible online, and minimize the outlays and costs to students.

The content of any course can be quantified. Any student, teacher or instructor can be online and manage their time and their studies better, unless there are practical reasons for being around in person.

Yet there are millions of under qualified people, who could create an economic recovery for America tomorrow, if they were actually able to qualify and be productive. There are plenty of education-qualified people who could be outsourced to do the basic management of student needs, and they’re not being used at all.

The great irony

The most absurd, yet rather sad, of the facts about the museum motif is that the New Economy is rapidly destroying the old. Many people being trained and oriented to the old economy will emerge into a completely different world.

Businesses now outsource as much productive work as possible, with good reason. It’s hundreds or even thousands of times cheaper. They contract to experts, and don’t have to carry training costs. Contracts don’t involve the now mindless ritual of hiring. A phone call will do. If it doesn’t work with one contractor, you make another phone call.

(This is quite legal, incidentally. There are not and cannot be laws, anywhere on Earth, prohibiting lawful contracts between businesses and individuals.)

Compare the cost of the phone call to the cost of hiring, and you’ll see the logic. Add to this the fact that these businesses don’t have to carry the cost of large expensive offices and workplaces, and you’re looking at millions, annually. They usually don’t have to provide equipment, pay for electricity, or deal with the employment issues in the workplace. More millions saved.

They also get the best people, the professionals who’ve opted out of the rat race and know how to work like this. These people are never late, they always do good work, and they provide huge value in their work. They’re also much easier to manage and work with.

These people aren’t disillusioned or apathetic. They’re highly motivated. Your success is in their interest. They’re in business for themselves, and they care about quality and doing things well. They can also usually provide a huge range of additional skills. They’d be instantly categorized as high value employees, but they’re far more valuable in this mode, where they can work at their own speed without bureaucratic interference. They’re continuously productive. They’re also good networkers, and if you need some skills in relation to their field, they’ll usually know where to find them.

Business managers can have instant access through emails, etc. not interminable meetings, performance reviews and other time wasting, largely irrelevant processes.

For outsourcers, this is also a much more efficient way of earning a living:

  • No commuting
  • No workplace stress
  • Much better time management
  • Able to deal with life situations without asking permission
  • The contract arrangement allows them to operate multiple income streams
  • No dependency on a single source of income
  • They can manage their own work
  • They usually have better facilities to do their jobs than offices provide
  • They can work 7 days a week with less difficulty than a conventional job
  • Employers can afford to reward them, so they actually get rewarded.

This list could go on forever. The point is that the job values are better for both. In career terms, an outsourcer with the right credentials can create their own career. They can get work on the basis of achievements, not on the basis of some ritualized dance of the bureaucrats.

This is not the time to be living in a museum for businesses or people. The old businesses are so uncompetitive they’re all losing market share on a daily basis to the New Economy businesses. If you want to stay in business, start exploring the New Economy options. If you want a good career, this is how to get it.


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    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 

      8 years ago from London, UK

      A very inspiring hub with a train of thoughts followed right through. Thank you.


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