One thing I recognized in third grade when I looked around my class room: only 4 out 20 of the kids in my class seemed capable of “making it” and becoming successful when we would enter the work world.
Over the next 10-years, I watched kids “disappear” to other schools and institutions, kids burying themselves with no social-awareness, kids not being able to learn the class material…generally, just not conforming to what school and society wanted of them in their adult years.
Some weren’t bright, some didn’t care, some were too busy living a life of hell at home,…some didn’t seem like they were from the planet.
Whatever the case, the idea and awareness that you need to take care of the “weak” was impressed upon me at an early age at Saintsville Catholic School. It is obvious that there are people that just won’t fit into what The System demands in order to be successful and make a good life.
Since the 1980’s, I’ve seen society become better at taking care of a wider and wider group that will not fit into the economic world. Technology has further dropped the need for labor making the job market tighter for the folks that just can’t get it.
The elderly are working longer into their golden years just to make sure they will be able to life the free and shiny lives they’ve been promised in the last 60-years.
Meanwhile, there are also the military Veterans, after going to the lands of combat, somehow have to bring their hyper-awareness and hyper-vigilance from war back to parts of the US that have never experienced such things.
As a general statement, there is a need to help these folks.
“The nation has made a great efforts to helping the poor.” said Ronald Haskins (6/5/12).
The problem, I believe, is not just about money and handouts. Like many problems in the US, its the cultural perspectives that have hindered us as a country.
The working-community needs a lot of help in general redesign. Here are just a few questions I like to think about:
1. Why are some people working 70-hours a week and others only 10 (or none)? People have different demands (do to age, motivation, health, family) for what kind of work and how much work. Why must we demand people to work over 40-hours a week if they hate their job and/or their job is unhealthy for them?
Lack of HR skills in America seems to be to blame for the Post Office. I have a hard time believing, with all the high-paid office personnel and their nifty software, that the Post Office can’t figure out how to hire, teach, and plan a schedule that fits the needs of its diverse work staff.
I’ve seen “lack” in other areas of the work world too. Small businesses lack strong HR skills (or a good HR model to follow…like a reformed Post Office might offer).
2. Why are we working our lives away for shareholders and management?
Some people are rocking good lives finding and following their purpose. Money is secondary.
Meanwhile, another group of people are watching their lives waste away for some shareholder or owner who’s only concern is a bigger profit line.
3. Why don’t people just start a business and follow their purpose?
Even though some workers have the income to create small businesses and follow their purpose while creating jobs, potential entrepreneurs are shackled by overwork and don’t have the time to put into developing a business.
4. How does a person live a good life?
That is at the heart of all of social design (or should be).
In our quest to be “independent and free” by chasing money, we have neglected our family and community obligations as humans. There is plenty of evidence that the best lives, the happiest lives, the fullest lives, are rooted in helping and supporting others.
The type of work a person engages in is also an important point to think about. As part of our development as humans we need to work, but it needs to be the “right” work that helps a person actualize themselves.
A person needs food, shelter, and clothing as their basic needs, but then they need the right challenges in their day to elevate themselves.
5. What can be done?
What really is needed at the end of the day is motivating leaders, inspired citizens, good alternative models for living productive lives, and a bigger sense/responsibility for Team America and our role as a shaper of the 21st century global community.
Just remember we all have weaknesses, so there needs to be a plan for all of us.