Still Stranded With No Hope in Sight: The Rising Unemployment Rate
In the face of staggering unemployment rates, having anything but appreciation for your job can be taboo. There seems to be an unspoken adage as of late that says that if you have a job, then you should be so lucky. If you happen to have a job that also gives you benefits, complaints are not allowed. If you also have the added incentive of enjoying the work you do, then you are an absolute jerk if you say as much as “boo” about your job. I would also add that you must be entitled, unappreciative, or out of touch with the current events.
In the job paradigm that we have created for ourselves as a nation–one in which you were able get a decent job where you did mediocre work for 40 years and retired at 65 with a good pension–it makes sense that we would be absolutely freaked by the rising unemployment rate. While the level of sensitivity surrounding the matter doesn’t change, it’s important that everyone know that we no longer live in the same world our baby-boomer grandparents grew up in. Reality is our friend and this is the reality: the reason the economy is struggling is because we are seeing the tail end of the industrial revolution that has lasted up into 80 years. Dare I agree with Seth Godin in saying that it isn’t coming back? There I said it. It’s not coming back. What next, then? We need a new paradigm. We need to look other places for these jobs. We have to see beyond what we know, beyond what our parents saw and did, and beyond what is right in front of our faces. It’s a bit like looking at one of those optical illusion posters. You can only see the picture when you look just beyond it.
The New Paradigm: Seeing the Forest Through The Trees
You don’t need me to tell you that we are not the same country we were following the second World War. We no longer need to educate our kids to be obedient, selfless, unquestioning workers when they grow up, or to show up at a certain time, clock in and leave at a certain time. Mindless workers are not what we need in this economy. We need new ideas. We need our children to be fierce at finding the holes in arguments, ideologies, religions, and policies. And to solve those problems with creativity, beauty, and our whole selves. We need to turn problems upside down and inside out, in order to find solutions that haven’t been found before.
We need passionate people who know their stuff and are willing to bring every experience they have had, every book they have read, and everything they have created with their hands— we need them to package it up in a way that only they can, and friggin’ sell that shit.
The current status quo in cubicle land is at best Machiavellian, “the ends justifies the means.” At worst, it pumps us up with a false sense of self-righteous martyrdom. Neither motivation lends itself to giving society what it needs—our most creative and fullest selves in the marketplace and at home. So why are we so afraid to leave it behind? We continue to fill out hundreds of applications to jobs we don’t want. Then we walk around moping for the next three weeks that those same companies didn’t hire us for said job. Enough already! In that three weeks you could have built your own website, branded yourself, developed a few products and voila. Getting on with it!
So we know the system is broken. But how do we fix it? If reality is our friend <insert elbow nudge>, then we must acknowledge it and ask it, “so what exactly should we be doing?” And how exactly do we move forward without any forseeable landmarks and a broken compass? We can start from the ground up with our kids. Teach them to question everything, even you and your partner. One thing we have personally tried to do is to find alternative methods of teaching our kids. Homeschool isn’t an option for us, so we looked at enrolling the kids in a Montessori school. We have basically rejected the current model for teaching kids and do everything in our power to teach them new paradigms at home.
I get it, though, teaching kids to think critically and to follow their hearts is great, but what about all of these adults who are out of work? People who have rich life experiences, ample talent and tons of domain knowledge? Dare I suggest that instead of looking for a company to work for, they create their own job? And that they calibrate their compass to their own inner desires and direction? That they stop feeling guilty for not following their parents or society’s dream for them?
Carving Your Own Path
Let’s take a lesson from Marit Beemster who lives in Amsterdam. Marit grew up in a small Dutch village. From childhood Marit was excessively interested in two things: cakes and shoes. After high school she was forced to make a choice. She chose fashion design (working with shoes) and most recently worked as a designer for Tommy Hilfiger. Baking and cooking remained a hobby all along. A year ago, after a long career as a fashion and textile designer, she combined both passions by designing her own restaurant. It happens to also be where she lives. Clever, eh?!? Every piece of furniture in her house has a purpose and is second-hand. You can tell that the place was designed by a designer, but with the intention of someone who loves to serve others.
Making Your Own Rules
The most brilliant part of her new endeavor, is that she makes up the rules. She only takes reservations 3 days a week. 3 days a week! She enjoys having the house to herself. You mean to say that she isn’t going to expand or create more restaurants? The Puritan work ethic would suggest that she work as hard as she can. Why wouldn’t she want to work even harder to create and spread her brand? Because she is bringing her whole self to this endeavor. By whole self I mean–her desires, her skills, her schedule. She knows thyself above all other things and knows when enough is enough. I was pleased to see from her website that she is closed for the entire month of August as well. The girl knows how to live artisticly, simply, beautifully and abundantly.
Your Future in the New paradigm
What would our economy look like if each of us was doing that which we could give our whole selves to. The part of us that wants to take a day off to be with our kids, the part of us that doesn’t like people, the part of us that wants to have a place down by the beach? What about the part of us that has our own brilliant ideas on how things should be done, or the part that only likes to work late at night and sleeps in until 11 am? Where do you fit? The you who can no longer be the obedient, selfless worker from 8 to 5? Only you know what would work for you. Is it time that you created your own niche? Time that you considered what it would look like to bring your whole self to a job–thereby creating more wealth for society? It is my belief that you know deep inside what is it, you are more ready than ever to chase it. You will know what it is when you say it and you have a little lump in your throat. That’s the one you will want to chase.
I was inspired to write this post after I read about Merit in Issue No. 8 of Anthology magazine. It’s hard not to be inspired by gorgeous styling and photos. In this same issue you will find other stories of small business owners who are living simple, beautiful, and abundant lives, doing what they have chosen to do and doing a fantastic job at it. Below you can see how thrilled I was to get my first issue in the mail! Boom! Radness at my fingertips.
If You Need Help
If you have a feeling it’s time to carve your own path and you need help finding your true, authentic way, please do email me. I would love to work with you. Email me now for your free 20 minute consultation. You can email me at ashley[at]leancrafting.com.
You have to go for it–but not alone.