So here is a more serious post from me. I am a multi-faceted individual, you know.
This economy is really scary. This isn’t news to anyone, but I wanted to vent my two cents here. I’ve recently been frustrated beyond my limits with this very topic. Namely because there isn’t an end in sight. It is emotionally exhausting to see the personal struggles of family and friends who haven’t been able to find full-time jobs with benefits in months. Years, even. The bills don’t stop! In fact, they do tend to stack up pretty high. Hey, that’s a career option – debt collector. Kidding, of course. But, it’s enough to get a person down.
It seems like years ago people had the option of changing jobs if they were dissatisfied with the one they currently had. Call it “climbing the career ladder” if you like, but there was a certain freedom in knowing that you could move around in search of financial and/or personal satisfaction and/or happiness. This wasn’t to last, however.
When I first graduated from college I earned a liberal arts degree. What did this really mean? I had no idea! Sure I racked up plenty of student loan debt, but I had the keys to the city! And no family to support! Any job was something I could consider, since I hadn’t really learned any specific skills. I could dazzle you with any 101 information at all – be it philosophy, psychology, sociology. History of Ireland? Sure! Printmaking? Why not! I knew a little of everything. I was born to be on the game show “Jeopardy!” Tragically, the only 101 I didn’t take was Economics. This class might have sobered me up quite a bit before graduation. And saved me from landsliding into debt.
My post-college graduation time in the big city was a duplicate of my college years. I took “101” jobs in a variety of interesting industries. Publishing? Sure! Broadcasting? Why not! I tried whatever I liked and soon got my fill on these “career appetizers” after a few years.
Once I moved from a large metropolitan area to a smaller town I realized I needed specific working skills to earn a steady paycheck. In other words, I needed something called “job training.” I headed back to school and became trained in a health care field. This was one of the best decisions I made because, as far as I could tell, I would always be able to find work. But in recent times I’ve learned that there are no guarantees in life. Not even with a degree in the health sciences.
Some people I know made the decision to hyper-specialize in college majors that were more an area of a personal interest rather than a career launch pad. They did this with the best of intentions – hoping the job marketplace would be able to squeeze them in somewhere after graduation. I almost did this myself, but realized I didn’t want to be a college professor teaching crusty old philosophies that were disproven centuries ago.
The people I know who hyper-specialized in their majors made the sad mistake of not going all the way and earning a PhD. This ultimate hyper-specialization would have at least made it possible for them to teach these hyper-specialized crusty and disproven (or soon to be) philosophies. Lesson learned: a hyper-specialized major, without the highest degree possible, will have a very hard time finding a job. Also, it makes leaving unsatisfying work just about impossible because there is no next step option available. Next Lesson Learned: You’re damned if you do, and your damned if you don’t.
So, where am I going with all this? Today, even if you have official “job training” this economy will suck to you and everyone you know. There are no job guarantees, it is hard to climb a career ladder, people are fired, and jobs are not plentiful or available. Competition for scraps is very high. It is scary and frustrating. Some may say it’s a good climate for entrepreneurs. But, after several entrepreneurial attempts of my own I realized that no matter how inspiring he may be, Donny Deutsch is only preaching to the wealthy, self-funded business types.
One day, after living under the weight of possibly being an unfulfilled cog in the wheel for the rest of my life, I realized there is still hope at least for creative freedom. After all, writing is free! And free is always affordable. Anyone can be an entrepreneur with their blog. Build a name for yourself, create a market. Make a free website and dare to be yourself. Find your voice. Find an audience. Make a brand. Freedom of the WordPress. No longer is the media tied up with big publishing houses or broadcasting companies. No longer do I have to compete for literary agents. Thankfully, the internet can keep creative freedom free. Make the most of it. I know I can’t afford not to. Is that a double negative? Then let’s say “I know I can afford that, at least.”
Whew! Rant and vent over. Thanks for hanging onto the end, if you were able to do so.