Security & Traditional Employment

by Edward Henkler on November 25, 2014

I was recently discussing creative employment with a friend who is transition. She told me it was a great idea but wouldn’t work for her as she needed the security of a traditional job with benefits. Sounds good at face value, right? Paul Harvey might have said “….and now for the rest of the story”. This friend is a single mother of a special needs adult. She has worked hard most of her adult life supporting her son while also raising a daughter who is now happily married and working as a special education teacher. She’s obviously done something right yet has also found herself in transition a number of times.

I believe she has become infatuated with the myth of traditional employment and that is completely understandable but may not be a good strategy. I’m reminded of a story I read shortly after my previous employer left me. In the beginning, the first colonists arriving in America depended on friends, family, and neighbors for their survival. Think of barn raisings and communities where every member contributed their unique talents to ensure the viability of fragile settlements in a “new world”. This approach persisted for a long time until attitudes began to shift to a belief that government and large corporations were responsible for our survival. This felt very comfortable but I would argue that it was a myth as government and large companies are really just impersonal business entities. They aren’t inherently good or bad but are almost universally committed to bottom line financial results. When lifetime employment ended, many of us felt betrayed but here’s where the magic arises. As we lost our faith in government and business, we reverted back to a reliance on friends, families, and neighbors…back to our roots. In the intervening years, someone invented social media which is sort of like barn raising on steroids. Our community has become a global community but is still dependent on trusted relationships based on a pay-it-forward mentality and truly delivering value to others.

Creative employment and barns

Creative employment: barn raising

Traditional employment is gone and good riddance – time to raise some barns with those who are most important in our lives.

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