There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance – that principle is contempt prior to investigation.
Chuck Chamberlain – A New Set of Glasses
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We are living in strange times. There is an abundance of work, and yet half of our country’s workers characterize themselves as “underemployed.”
We have more money than we had before. And yet, there is such fear of the future that we are closing the doors to newcomers.
Our most well-read children are envisioning lives of purpose, and yet far too many parents are telling their children their lives will have less opportunity.
While the average American becomes more accepting and open to diversity, we see a culture of outrage fueled by the kind of self-obsession that only black and white answers might be acceptable.
We complain about the 1% without acknowledging that the good ones are curing cancer, generating green energy, making higher education free and without charge, and introducing new ways to make our lives even more abundant.
If ever there was a need for a new mindset, today is the day.
I gave up the need to be right many years ago. So much of the thinking and beliefs that were forced upon me turned out to be untrue. That gave me a thirst for learning. Many of the most cherished beliefs I developed had to be regularly cast aside to make room for bigger, better, more joy, and more to contribute.
After founding Inspired Work, most people and organizations used our services to change their lives and their cultures. We helped them overhaul their thinking to make room for a great relationship with their work. Typically, courage was required to work with us. An individual would come through our doors ready to embrace their own truth, even if they were distracted or unaware of what that might actually be. Organizations recognized that truth and transparency exacted a price.
30 years later, the world around us has changed. In fact, 2006 represents the boundary between how work was viewed and treated before the restructuring. It was the last generation of a “rinse and repeat” cycle in the world of work. There was a talent war taking place. That meant employers treated their talent and possible candidates with greater care and respect. When the bottom fell out of our economy in 2008, most people with jobs or looking for jobs were treated as “expendable.” People tend to ask for less money when that happens, and survivors are more afraid to leave.
But, while organizations and workers became distracted by the need to survive, change accelerated in utterly unrecognizable ways. Advancing technology is getting rid of task work. Shocking new transparency fueled by every worker becoming an onsite journalist spawned the Me Too movement and the truth about every institution, whether hallowed or out of the public eye.
After gobs of research and study, I believe that underemployment is the single most significant contributor to the political turmoil we are witnessing right now. After 50 years of focus-group politics, our leaders don’t tell us what we need to do, they promise what we want to hear.
I have watched over 40,000 people make career changes – up close and personal. Much of my current work is centered on orchestrating the success of our most ambitious clients. I live for this work, and I love this work.
So, here is my truth:
This is the single most crucial time in our history to let go of how we interpreted and used work before. It is also the single most critical time to recognize that while technology is disruptive, there is only good news. But, for most of us to even see it requires a new set of glasses.
We have entered an era where being shackled to a task-based job is coming to an end. Technology is giving us freedom from rote and monotonous work. But, if anyone that you know don’t know what to do with this opportunity, all they will experience will be fear, cynicism, contempt, aimless, and resignation. We live in a culture where frenzy has become the single most effective way to check out of dealing with change.
When we began this work, most of the people who pursued Inspired Work were eager to change their lives. On some level, they were rebels. Clocking-in and Clocking-out weren’t enough. Survival and predictability weren’t enough. They came with open minds and open hearts. They listen to our questions, and they wrote their way into new professional lives. But, what was optional in the past is necessary for the present.
Loving our work is now the single most significant insurance against getting laid off or going out of business. Loving our work gives us the juice to change as the world changes around us.
If our work involves repetition, monotony, and a routine, someone else is already designing a way for technology to that work with a more excellent economy and without forcing another trance onto a human being.
In its place, there has never been a better time to find a problem in the world that you want to solve. If that sounds a bit pretentious, look up social entrepreneurs such as Peter Diamandis, who are building entirely profitable organizations that are solving problems such as illness, education, the environment, transportation, entertainment, and love.
When I finish this article, we will be meeting with a client who is changing her business, her career, and her future. Like many others, as she has grown spiritually, the work she has done has lost a deep sense of meaning. She will join a cadre of bright souls that inspire me every single day. She is doing this because she let go of hiding out in the past. When we develop the initiative to change, to examine our beliefs, and to realize what is killing our freedom, we pave the way for a new life.
There will be a period where she will experience awkwardness and maybe even the notion she is a fraud. That certainly happened when I opened the doors.
But, I cannot and will never go back. I will never work to merely making a paycheck. My work has given me the greatest gift of all. It is the awareness that my life matters.
Once again, my late friend Chuck Chamberlain summarizes the journey:
“You cannot think your way into a new way of acting, but you can act your way into a new way of thinking.”