Select Writings On The Future Of Work
STOP ASKING WHAT
We ask young people : “WHAT do you want to be when you grow up?”
We ask university students : “WHAT is your major?”
We ask each other : “So, WHAT do you do [for a living is implied]?
Each of these questions, in its own way, promises a future directed toward and shaped by a job. Increasingly, the answers inevitably point to a job that may never be there.
How can children dream of a career when more than half the work available to them in their adulthood has not yet been conceived?
How can we encourage college students to assume great debt to acquire a set of skills and base of knowledge for jobs that will evaporate before that debt is paid.
How will workers describe themselves when they have become unbundled from traditional corporate jobs or cobble together an income from multiple sources. (For more on this, see our Jobs Are Over blog series.
The Dangers of the Frozen or Fixed Identity
Still, we ask each other “what” using ambition and work as the proxy for identity and status. They are questions that may have worked at one time in our history as we rode an escalator from learning through career development and on to a happy retirement. These “what” questions calcified one’s identity in a system of education and work that ran like a pipeline from school to factory and corporation, a system that worked well enough in a slowly evolving economy, but one that will fail us desperately as we experience the greatest velocity of change in human history. The escalator is now gone! Now, we must traverse a terrain of broken steps in order to craft our career arc. To do so, we will need different skills and an entirely new agile learning mindset.
The Hard Truth About Lost Jobs: It's Not About Immigration
Few topics spike the ire of American voters like jobs, immigration, and trade, no doubt because the three are inexorably tied together, at least in the rhetoric of politicians who point to immigration and trade as the villains of the American jobs story.
This narrative was clearly in evidence during the presidential campaign, as candidates in nearly every race made admirable pledges to “bring back jobs” through any number of means: reducing immigration by building a wall on our “southern border”, tearing up trade deals, punishing companies that relocate jobs outside of the US, and/or rounding up and deporting undocumented workers. That political rhetoric has spilled into the post-election zeitgeist in the comment sections of online media, like our Immigration, We Simply Cannot Afford This post that examined the economic contribution of legal immigration over the last half century. The comments section was a river of outrage over illegal immigration and trade, even though neither topic was the focus of the piece. Still, the post hit a cord and has reached over 500,000 views.
It’s no wonder. Jobs -- the lack of them, generally, and the lack of good-paying ones, particularly -- is a hot button for many Americans who are suffering from stagnant wages or worse, up-ended careers. While immigrants and trade may be convenient whipping boys (why else would politicians lite on them so readily?), the preponderance of evidence suggests that it is automation, not immigration, that is eating American jobs.
Education and accelerated change: The imperative for design learning
Immigration: We Simply Cannot Afford This
In an interview with MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” three days after President Trump’s executive order restricting entry to foreign nationals from seven largely Muslim countries, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer called the ban “a small price to pay” to insure the security of the country. Mr. Spicer’s comment and, indeed, the ban itself begs for a fact-based discussion on the role of immigration in the United States economy, particularly as this Executive Order is just the first steps in a “larger immigration effort,” according to the White House spokesman.
With student and H-1B work visa programs, among others, squarely in the sights of reformers, I turned to multiple, nonpartisan research organizations to examine the impacts of entrepreneurship, job growth, and immigration on the economy. The findings suggest that, contrary to Mr. Spicer’s assertion, the price may be much higher than the administration is willing to admit.
[Note: This article, which is my opinion supported by facts, strives to create a dialogue about immigration and the economy-- it is not limited to, or a focus on, the currently proposed executive order temporary ban-- that is merely the catalyst. Said simply and directly, this is not an article about the ban.]
Net Job Growth
To place the impact of immigration in context, it’s important to first look at the source of new job growth. In its 2015 update to the report The Importance of Young Firms For Economic Growth, the Kauffman Foundation found that the majority of net new job creation and twenty percent of gross job creation comes from companies five years and younger. Firms less than one year old created an average of 1.5 million jobs per year over the past thirty years. Older, established firms, often shed jobs at a rate higher than they create them. It stands to reason, then, that we need to continuously create new companies in order to keep pace with the needs of our labor force.
Continue Reading On LinkedIn