How America Will Stay Free


tugofwarIt’s almost the end of academic marking period #1. It’s also the autumnal equinox. Blessed season! You know me; I work in cycles and as with any harvest season, it’s time to harvest a few thoughts about school as a place to learn in the 21st century. To back up a bit…

In the early years of common schooling, the challenge was to efficiently assimilate the flood of new Americans that washed ashore just before the industrial revolution. The American revolution’s Liberty Tree evidenced its bedrock-deep, widespread root system by bearing the fruit of a society based on essential morality and goodness.

The point of schooling back then was to develop a population that would accept as the norm cooperation with (obedience to) a just and benevolent (paternalistic) government, industry, thrift, kindness and all those virtues thought to characterize a “good citizen” of a republic. Contrast that with post revolutionary thinking about a society headed by a monarchy (prince-priest) with the wind of an outrageously wealthy aristocracy supporting it.  John Adams put it, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other”. Benjamin Franklin said, “Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters”. We get educated, then, to remain good and therefore remain free.

As the nation’s social “tasks”/issues came and went, school reforms movements have followed suit. School became the orange rag knotted over the mud-hole pulled back and forth by various thought systems and interest groups.  When I was doing the work for the masters in education, teaching children to read using “phonics” was a cardinal sin. Phonics was the way the “backwards religious right” taught kids to read. As a child growing up in the 50’s and early 60’s, phonics was touted as the best way (right and only way) to teach children to read. I informed a professor I would not be in class one session so that I could attended a Christian women’s conference on the very day everyone else chose their subject for a paper. The next session, I got my subject: the only one left–phonics. There was a noticiable chill towards me in that class for weeks. It’s not nice to be branded the “class evangelical Christian”.

As a result of the “tug of war” school became more and more insular to the place where school today is another planet. It “protected itself” from threat as any organism would by adjusting externally through “education fad-of-the year” antics, but dragged its feet internally. So, the classroom walked 20 years behind business and society.

That is one of the reasons new graduates complain about their “lack of readiness”to join industry as employees and their employers complain about the”lack of quality applicants” as if it were a “quality control” issue. New grads simply have not been living on the same planet as their employers.

However, school is now poised to enter a revolution itself as it lets go of the industrial model…

Advertisements

Happy Labor Day, from Victoree


Rosie The Riviter Honor Labor poster

Rosie says…

It’s the last party of the summer. It’s the holiday before we hang up our bathing suits and face the fact that last fall’s clothes don’t fit. After the heartburn from the hot dogs is long gone, we launch into the matter of school–beginning with, “what is school for?”

trinity-knot-clipart-1Whether we in this society state it clearly enough, consider that an active, successful producer in the workforce is the end product of schooling. We go to school to go to work and expect to work darned hard, too. Here’s a twist on that from the founder of Mindvalley,  Vishen Lakhiani. Over the years, industry has uncoupled itself from any responsibility for training and the task floated to education to basically prepare new entrants to the workforce. So, education and industry work hand in hand (or they used to). Instead, Industry and Education became like long-married people who grow apart over the years. This is why companies grumble when they discover they have acquired new hires who do not “come up to spec”. They feel somehow that they have been “cheated” and the schools have “failed” because the product they were promised never shows up. The relationship of school and industry is essentially a provider-consumer relationship. Then, we as a society hope that the schools we release our precious youth to, these educational expert partners we support with our taxes will somehow accomplish this:

  •  turn out good, patriotic citizens
  • caring, concerned parents
  • generally moral people

Yes, I said, “turn out”, because, let me repeat, the unspoken social contract school has with industry is that school will do the workforce preparation and industry will provide the employment. Religious institutions have the job of providing the moral piece. However, something has happened to “the triple knot” of home, school and business.

Whether you will be returning to school, college or work, remember on Labor Day (before the heartburn after that hamburger) that an honest day’s labor is an honorable thing to be celebrated. Work is not a curse. It is a blessing.

Happy Labor Day, from Victoree

 

 

 

COMING OCTOBER 31 – VICTOREE’S INDUSTRIAL MYTHOLOGY


I know I have kept you on tenterhooks about the new look and feel of VICTOREE’S INDUSTRIAL MYTHOLOGY world premier coming October 31st. First of all, why the heck Hallowe’en?

Well, according to Celtic legend, this is a season when the barrier between “what was” and “what is” is most porous. I tell you, I can feel an unusual excitement “in the air” right now. Change is normal now. It’s time to take account of the last season’s labor. Summer has ended. The border of winter is a great time for serious shifts in many areas including consciousness. Look at the new year approaching. Stand in the doorway between today and all you know and tomorrow and what you only envision. What voices do you hear? What visions do you see?

Who’s going to be president?

Why the steampunk flavor? It has been a creeping suspicion of mine that the workplace is way behind the times…far behind the reality of the world we move around in. I was talking to my daughter just this week and I asked her if school ever gave her the option of taking a course in career management. And the answer was…no. There was no course on career management when I was in graduate school or university either. Education is much the same as it was for two generations! We proved it.

The model of education is “the assembly line”. Experts stay at a single, fixed station. The line of students move by according to a set schedule, “get their knowledge” from that expert, and move on to the next expert. This model worked extremely well for the Mechanical age workforce. Guess what? The workplace is still basically functioning back in the age when clocks came into widespread use; still talking about efficiency and productivity using the same terms and meanings as in the age of steam. I call it the “steampunk workplace”.

Our youth are not being prepared to face a changing workplace. Some will adjust and make it. Some will not. Let’s start the conversation. You are here cordially invited to the grand opening of VICTOREE’S INDUSTRIAL MYTHOLOGY coming October 31st, the old Celtic New Year. What you are seeing now is a preview. Tell me what you think.

See you there!

JOB HUNTERS HAVE A RIGHT TO BE FIGHTING TIRED!


The VP falls asleep in congress

Now, the man pictured above was caught on camera enduring another obviously impossibly long meeting. This man is fully employed…and he is tired. If this highly paid executive can get weary at work, what about the hundreds of thousands of people who are not working? I say let us get off our friends’, relations and our own backs and face the reality that looking for work is hard work and job seekers have a right to be tired. Think about this:

The very day a once-employed person becomes unemployed, BOOM! That former-worker immediately becomes the project manager of the biggest project in a lifetime: getting another job.  Immediately, everything is her direct responsibility.

After becoming an unlicensed mental health worker in order to slow the slip-n-slide into situational depression, the role of marketing executive immediately demands attention. The newly unemployed worker has to find and run a skills assessment, compare the results with what the market requires and upgrade where necessary. Upgrading skills calls for locating an educational agency, enrolling in coursework and financing it. That’s not all–

  • An employment goal has to be determined and that means becoming a researcher.
  • A timetable has to be created and steps toward the target plotted, so that means becoming a career strategist.
  • A marketing campaign has to be created and put into action including writing a resume (you’re a technical writer, now), creating an elevator speech, and practicing interviewing. That is public speaking–something many people would rather have a double wisdom tooth extraction than do. It can also include an occasional smattering of stagecraft.
  • All the while, the budget for this project is rapidly blowing up because being out of work becomes increasingly more expensive (figure out the gross loss of income and multiply by the time without a job). The CFO (Chief Financial Officer You) is never happy. That is the one who demands getting up at 3:00am to cry,worry and bargain with God.
  • Then, there is the administrative role. Somebody–guess who–has to write, answer and monitor emails; keep the appointment calendar; always answer the phone professionally; create business cards; on and on.

Plus, remember while all this is going on in one ring, the other two in this crazy circus are going on at full tilt–the spouse; the kids; homework; housework; managing chronic conditions (yours and other people’s); managing a household and relationships and more. Nobody does all these jobs like a rock star, but we cross our fingers, go to job clubs that coach job search skills and hope to get good enough at it to get that next job. Meanwhile, so much attention is given to acquiring job search skills that the skills actually used to perform the job act like muscles when they are not regularly used–they atrophy if not exercised. Why are job seekers so tired? So frustrated when the search drags on? Take a good guess!

A Memorial Day Tribute – From Victoree


art: Vietnam War Memorial

The American wailing wall

A few conflicting stories exist about the origins of what we in the USA now celebrate as “Memorial Day”, the 30th of May. In my meandering search I have noticed that the overlapping part of the “Venn diagram” among the stories is that the 30th of May was once called,  “Decoration Day” a commemoration of the (un)Civil War. It was a time to lay flowers on the graves of the fallen of both the Union and the Confederacy.

Perhaps the idea of a commemoration of the most destructive war this nation has ever seen arose concurrently in both the former combatants territories and slowly pushed up into the national ego as part of the national mourning process. As more tomorrows became history it seemed so “right” to mourn all the losses from all the wars America has ever fought at this time, so the day was renamed, “Memorial Day”. Now, we can freely mourn all our losses: my great grandmother’s war, the Civil War; my grandmother’s war, WWI; my mother’s war, WWII; my war, Vietnam; my daughter’s war, Afghanistan. Somehow, the morrigan sorrow manages to scrape her bony finger across the face of every generation.

black feather with broken rib

A gift from the crow

I consign it to legend; something lost in our country’s misty, schizophrenic memory. Every election year the “Land of The Free and the Home of the Brave” rolls over in her sleep and the nightmares about the Civil War come back. She has generally forgotten what the commemoration was originally about, but hangs on to the “celebration” part. So, over the years, Memorial Day has become simply the party that kicks off the summer.

So, while cleaning the grill, skewering the kabobs and marinating the steaks,please consider that Memorial Day is about remembering. It might be a good day to mourn any/all kinds of loss including personal ones. I do not suggest anyone lay flowers at a former job’s doorstep even though that would be crazy-cool and maybe some much needed closure would happen. Maybe buying a personal bouquet would help speed the healing of an emotional wound.

Tribute In Light Memorial

Tribute In Light

Personally, I bought a very small, but significant gift for myself with the last paycheck of each job I lost. On Memorial Day, I look at the gifts and remember. Remarkably, one by one, year by year, I find the original outrage and pain suffered in those jobs has given way to peace and forgiveness.

May Memorial Day fill you with peace.

Victoree

Interview Red Flags


The Interview

The Interview (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

red flag

Danger, Will Robinson! This could be a bad employee!

It’s time to hop back into the discussion about the interview. It is a given that the seeker is at the place where candidates are in process of being chosen to compete in the great arena–the interview(s) and the seeker is one of the chosen.  After all, this is what all the hub-bub is about, bub: being one of those too big to pass through the “coarse sieves” of the “first cattle call selections” . Now the finer sieves come out.

Company and independent  recruiters give the thumbs down on the following  “red flag” parade of behaviors–things that make a candidate look like a potential bad hire–in interviews. This list is a compilation of all the red flag behaviors I have learned to avoid. This wisdom is  collected from seminars, recruiters, online articles and many job searches. Of course, lack of contact information on the resume or an email address like, “honeylocust.com” reduces the chances of being called into the arena to zero!

Applicant States of Being

Did I really say THAT

  • currently unemployed
  • Mature worker
  • Worker of different gender, race, color or weight than expected
  • arriving for interview late
  • disorganized
  •  inappropriate attire
  • out-of date appearance
  • smoke/alcohol on breath
  • perfume/cologne
  • Lack of preparation
  • nervousness
  • over confidence/over familiarity
  • desperation
  •  negative attitude
  • low energy

From a Quick Look At the Resume

  • Out of date resume
  • Mature candidate
  • Pure functional resume
  • long gaps between jobs termination(s)
  • unstable job history –  “job hopping”
  • social media reputation
  • overqualified (setting your bar too low)
Emotional baggage

hauling emotional baggage into the interview

Don’t Ask, Don’t Reveal?

  • Prison terms
  • mental illness hospitalization
  • “Monk”-isms
  • conditions and health issues
  • Child/Adult care issues
Yes, it might take a few posts to get through all of these, but I feel it well worth the time.

Just Being Me: “Default Activity”


reading, an all favorite pastime

a featured illustration from Shay's Word Garden on Blogspot

Some people actually cannot imagine themselves alive on earth having nowhere to go every day that promises a monetary reward at the end of a week. It was from graduation to first job. No space between. It is simply mind-boggling for some folk to consider there could possibly be other places to be during the day and none of them involve parking on the living room sofa watching daytime TV.  “Being me” happens in the spaces not filled up by “the job”. Satisfying the need for a more meaningful life while having a low-paid, boring job causes this space.”Disassociation” from a former job will open more of this space too.
collage of hobby and off time activity

When I'm not working, I'm at...

Let’s play a game.Pretend suddenly you flew off to your favorite place to be; the place that could be called your “second address”…a place where if anybody goes there, they would find you. Are you there? Answer me honestly from where you are hiding. MARCO!

Who said, “POLO!”?
Found you. I know where you are. After the initial drama of joblessness, what might begin to happen is a rediscovery of joyful activity engaged in before there was any thought about paid employment. I call that “default activity”. For some, this kind of activity is laced up tightly into weekends and often called, “hobbies”. For others, it is what one naturally turns to when the day is over. It is what people do to “decompress” or “unwind”. Another word for it is “pastime activity”. Some people take chunks of time to do special projects like teaching kids to read in another country. Still others are gaming, treasure hunting, cooking, painting, sitting in front of the fridge inhaling more than the fragrance or on the dock of the bay “watching the tide roll away”. Default activity. It comforts; it relaxes; it probably started in childhood and it is organic to the personality. After the six-month anniversary of joblessness, default activity might be just the ticket to realign the soul with  authentic purpose. Who knows where a default activity might lead? A business, ministry and yes, a new career, may suggest itself that way.