Thursday, November 17, 2016

Get Ready for the Let Down

It's not your government's responsibility to motivate you.

Big promises were made during the presidential campaign. The person promising to put people back to work, making the kind of middle class income that defined the Rust Belt many years ago, may find that promise hard to fulfill. It's a different world, and the skills and knowledge we filled our heads with 25 years ago, may not be so relevant today.

Nobody told me that two degrees in English would land me a job making one dollar more than minimum wage while dragging around a cardboard tube housing a master's degree. My first "real" job required math and physics knowledge overlaid with "people skills." I learned very fast to master the subject matter I spent the first 25 years of my life avoiding. I became a professional manager during the Clinton years. Gas was 92 cents a gallon, by the way. A person doesn't forget a number like that. I bought a house. I wasn't using one bit of my degreed education. Math and people skills.

One could argue that a good liberal arts degree hones people skills. It can, but my sister kind of does the same kind of work that I do (just in a different industry), and she doesn't have a liberal arts degree. And she makes pretty good money. Her education is in fashion merchandising.

Don't blame "them" if you can't find a good job

We live in an age of technology. It came on us really fast. That geek that couldn't throw a football is the workplace hero these days. In fact, he's quite fashionable.

If a person feels left out or left behind, that person has to take the personal initiative to learn marketable skills. That person has to do the research on his/her community and figure out which jobs are needed. It could be construction. It could be plumbing. It could be software development. It could be automated factories. Healthcare's a good one. So is education; especially math and science.

No matter what swill we drank in 2016, the outcome is not going to be what was promised. Accept that. Get off the whine wagon. Transform. Go to work.

Re-education can be very cost effective


I love this website. It's full of thousands of educational videos. Most cost less than $20. I've taken a free course on SEO because I work in the online marketing world. I'm currently taking a course on Excel 2016 from beginner to advanced. It cost me $19, and I log on and learn at my convenience. I cannot tell you of any online marketing management job that excludes skills in Excel. Tammy is taking a Reiki course. It may be more about enrichment, but I mention this because I want you to understand the breadth of Udemy's library.

Community Colleges

Whether it's a full on semester of coursework or community education, community colleges are the cornerstone of reinvention for the workplace. Find yours, and explore. I've often thought about taking some electrician training courses. Just in case. Because that's an eternally marketable skill. Welding is another good one. It's not only marketable, it can be fun.

Online Schools

Some of these may be sketchy, but I think there are plenty that are legitimate, and they offer students the opportunity to get degrees on their time. They are very expensive, so I caution you to weigh the cost with benefit. i.e. will your new skills land you a job relative to the cost of your degree. In many cases, the answer is "no." However, it could be that your passion requires an accredited degree, and online universities may be the best option.

My political bottom line

Hate speech, inciting bad behavior and rioting is not o.k. I don't want to live in a banana republic. I'm concerned that 50% of my country is going to be very let down by the disappointment that's going to follow the promise to make America great again by putting people back to work in outdated jobs. We need energy and building materials and cars, but please understand that those things are produced with technology that has replaced much of the human workforce. Learn new skills. Be agile in a changing world. Once upon a time, the blacksmith was busy dude. No matter what anyone said to him, it didn't stop the proliferation of the automobile.

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