Monday, September 7, 2015

Thinking about Labor on Labor Day

On this Labor Day, my thoughts turn to my labor. I've been a teacher and now I'm an administrator at the college level. When I first started in my field, I assumed that I had chosen a field that was similar to gerontology. I thought that people would always need to go to school. I gleefully said, "The world will always need English teachers!"

I didn't foresee all the technology that might make the delivery of that education make me, the human in front of the classroom, obsolete.

I'm roughly halfway through my career life, so maybe I can hold on and keep reinventing myself. That was my thought before the economic meltdown of the Fall of 2008. Now, I wonder how many people will continue to pay astronomical amounts for an education. I predict that people will continue to pay for community colleges and state universities, which are more affordable than private schools. Right now, I'm at a private school, so that's only some amount of comfort. 
My spouse and I are shifting our thoughts to the idea of income streams rather than careers.  We like the idea of income streams that aren't dependent on us reporting in person to a physical place every day.

Of course, it's easier to think this way when one of us has such a job which provides nice benefits, like a steady paycheck that's an amount I can count on, health insurance, and a retirement plan.  I no longer have a company that contributes to my 401K, but at least I can still contribute.

I'll keep this job as long as I can.  I suspect it may be the last time I'll have this kind of job.  They're vanishing faster than glaciers.

So, on this Labor Day, which celebrates the American Labor Movement and all the gains made for a more humane workplace, it's worth thinking about how much we may be backsliding. It's also worth thinking about what a jobless recovery means for the future. Will the day come when we'd be grateful for bosses who abuse us because at least we're getting paid?

Ah, Karl Marx, where are you when we need you?

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