work

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Charles Hugh Smith: Fixing The Way We Work

Closing the wealth gap with meaningful work
Sunday, November 15, 2015, 2:34 PM

Charles Hugh Smith returns to the podcast this week to discuss the theme of his new book A Radically Beneficial World: Automation, Technology and Creating Jobs for All.

Automation and artificial intelligence are changing the landscape of work. Tens of millions of jobs are on track to be eliminated over the next decade or so by these advancing technological innovations in the US alone.

The way in which our current economy is constructed, the fruits of those cost savings are likely to go into a very small number of private pockets, while the millions of displaced workers will find themselves with no income and no work to do. It's a huge looming problem that is not being address in national dialog right now.

But there's opportunity to course-correct here. To use our new technologies to increase total productivity in a way that empowers rather than diminishes the individual worker. » Read more

Podcast

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Johnson O'Connor: Finding Your Purpose

How to discover, empirically, what fulfills you
Saturday, November 7, 2015, 3:33 PM

What should I do with my life?

As existential questions go, this one's a biggie. Each of us, to varying extents, continually wrestles with answering it as we make our way in the world.

But tackling such a big question is really hard, and often overwhelming for most of us. How do we know where to start? How do we know what we truly enjoy? What we're truly good at?  What truly fulfills us?

Having solid, science-based data points to help guide us in our our exploration and decision making would sure be useful. Especially with the big decisions, like what to study in school, what type of career path to choose, and how to play to our strengths in what we do. » Read more

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Escaping the Rat-Race

More meaningful work that boosts career security
Wednesday, July 23, 2014, 11:48 AM

The changing nature of work doesn’t just matter to new graduates seeking their first career-track job—it’s equally important to experienced workers seeking to escape the corporate rat-race or build a new career after a layoff.

Those who understand these changes will be able to successfully adapt. Those who don’t, won’t. » Read more

Insider

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How The Nature of Work Is Changing

And how to (re)position your career for it
Wednesday, July 23, 2014, 11:48 AM

Executive Summary

  • The Matrix of Work & the 5 Forms of Value Creation
  • The essential elements of the future's ideal work environment
  • How mobility creates career security
  • How to start switching from "work" to "work that matters"

If you have not yet read Part I: Escaping the Rat-Race available free to all readers, please click here to read it first.

In Part 1, we reviewed the forces of structural change in the economy and the nature of work.  In Part 2, we’ll cover the matrix of work (how to create value in the age of automation) and discuss specific strategies for building a resilient career you control.

The Matrix of Work

In the traditional capital/labor model, labor is paid by the hour to perform routine work.  In the emerging economy, routine work is increasingly performed by machines or outsourced.  In this environment, the premium for human labor arises from creating value and solving problems.

The tool I use to understand this premium is the matrix of work, which is the overlay of the five forms of value creation: non-process-based work, high touch, non-tradable work, sensitivity of the output to mastery and flexibility.

Let’s start with commodification:  when goods or services can be traded interchangeably across the globe, these become commodities, as opposed to one-of-a-kind goods and services unique to one small-scale producer. A Fuji apple from Washington State is the same as a Fuji apple from overseas in terms of its tradability and retail value.

Labor can also be commoditized:  if human labor is being sold as time performing basic skills, then the time and basic skills can be bought and sold interchangeably around the world.

Work that is process-based is easily automated or commoditized, meaning that it can be performed anywhere by interchangeable laborers.  Process-based work can be broken down into tasks that take a specifiable input and yield a specifiable output.

One way to avoid being commoditized out of a job is... » Read more

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How Life Will Change

Logistics and values in the post-industrial future
Wednesday, March 5, 2014, 5:16 AM

Executive Summary

  • In a future defined by diminished economy, due to depleting resources, what can we expect?
  • A return to "old-style" cultural norms looks inevitable for:
    • Spirituality
    • Trust & Reputation
    • Values & Virtues
    • Leadership & Order
    • Education
    • Commerce
    • Jobs & Work

If you have not yet read Are You Crazy To Continue Believing In Collapse? available free to all readers, please click here to read it first.

The journey to where we’re going, the transition to the next economy and the society that comes with it, is liable to be harsh and disruptive. Network breakdown will be the order of the day. Money and goods will stop moving. People will lose a lot. They’ll lose property, imagined wealth, comfortable routines, faith in institutions and authorities. In some places they may lose personal security or freedom. Depending on how disorderly politics gets, we may lose family, loved ones, and friends. People will be very unsure of who or what they can depend on. We might expect pervasive desperation, anger, and despair.

One thing I fully expect is... » Read more

Insider

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The 10 Factors Destroying our Social Health

Through better understanding, we can reverse them
Monday, February 17, 2014, 12:58 PM

Executive Summary

  • The erosion of community is due to many factors
  • Understanding these factors enables us to begin combating them
  • The 10 reasons American social capital is declining
  • What it will take for a revival in social cooperation

If you have not yet read The Erosion of Community, available free to all readers, please click here to read it first.

In Part 1, we surveyed a number of explanations for the erosion of community, starting with the landmark 1950 book, The Lonely Crowd, and found that no one theory adequately accounted for the decline of social capital in America.

Here are ten other factors that could be factors in this long-term erosion:

1.  The explosion of choices in the mass media (mentioned by Robert Putnam and Kevin K.) now offers endless opportunities to form a protective bubble around oneself: if you only want to hear views that confirm your existing biases, it's now very easy to do so, and you don’t even need to go out into the real world to do so.

Since confirming our own beliefs is safe and comfortable, our collective reaction may be to avoid people who might disagree with us. Eventually, such isolated individuals “socializing” in self-selected groups online lose the ability to function productively in diverse groups of real people in a real community.

2.  The mobility demanded of labor.  The mobility of labor in America--that workers can pull up stakes and move to better job opportunities--is often lauded as the key to the U.S. economy's flexibility and resilience. This is no doubt true, but that mobility eviscerates community: if you move every 2-3 years (as required of military personnel, Corporate America managers and many others), what's the motivation for joining and contributing to local groups?... » Read more

Featured Discussion

Special Amazon Deal: Finding Your Way To Your Authentic Career

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Special Amazon Deal: Finding Your Way To Your Authentic Career

Kindle is offering our e-book on career transition for as low as $0.99 this weekend only

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You've Got No Job!

A glimpse into the future of (un)employment
Friday, February 7, 2014, 2:45 AM

Today, the pundits are a-buzz making sense of the latest lackluster jobs report. Expect much hand-wringing over the impact of the 'polar vortex' and that Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow.

But most of us care more about the state of one particular job: our own. How relevant is this latest bit of data to that? Not very.

So, to better understand the trends in the work environment most likely impact our own paychecks, it will help to look at another bellwether similar to our fuzzy groundhog friend: AOL. » Read more

Featured Discussion

Finding Professional Purpose

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Finding Professional Purpose

A reader puts our guidance into practice

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Ward Hooper

Finding Your Way to Your Authentic Career

Transition to the fulfilling work you were meant to do
Thursday, June 6, 2013, 10:22 PM

Unfulfilled by your job? Wish the work you do on a daily basis were more aligned with the person you are (your interests and values)?

You're not alone.

In fact, the majority of workers would chose a different career path if given the chance. » Read more