Jobless or Innovator?


         Since the industrial revolution, society has created boundless excuses for what “takes” our jobs, seeking an exterior source of unemployment. Is it the proliferation of outsourcing? Is it technology’s double-edged sword that allows for new technological devices to replace the human hand or even worse, the mind? Unaware of the irrelevance of these sources, we often seek extraneous reasons for the causes of the general decline in employment. Perhaps these catalysts for the changing economy are in fact motivators for new careers. As discussed in lecture with the example of outsourcing, it is not directly the act of outsourcing that cost the United States to loose many jobs, it is in the ability of people to make them a valuable part of this new economy. The economy is changing, the markets are dynamic and unstable and it is in our people to recognize this and adjust their skills. Today, many skills people have are not applicable to the jobs that are currently out there. It is in the workforce to realign themselves according to the changes of the economy and technology and to veer away from stagnating in efforts to persevere in this ever-changing work place.

Image                                                            In Thomas Friedman’s NY Times Article, Need a Job? Invent it, he discusses this pertinent issue, naming education as a base for what must change in order to adjust to today’s economy. “What you know matters far less than what you can do with what you know.” The article discussed how realignment in education must occur. Tony Wagner diminishes the value in academic knowledge and instead stresses the importance of the “capacity to innovate”… He desires a student that is no longer “college ready” but instead “innovation ready”. In past generations it was simpler for people to find traditional jobs as they were laid out for them and pre-destined. More and more Wagner mentions how it is now in our generation’s hands to acclimatize to the lack of traditional jobs and begin to invent new ones. With the accessibility to new and cheap technologies, this task is now easier than ever. In an effort to adjust to this change, Wagner believes that schools must shift their educational focus towards stimulation of curiosity, persistence and motivation. According to Wagner, Instead of mastering particular subjects, students should master particular skill sets like critical thinking and communication. A transformation of the education system, Wagner believes, will help to encourage students to have more innovative minds and thus create new and innovative careers.

            Today may be considered a dangerous time for job seekers as the market has become more and more competitive due to the many different avenues making traditional careers obsolete. However, instead of calling it dangerous it may be more appropriate to call it inspiring or exhilarating. For the first time the individual is left with more power than ever to create what could be the next jobs of their generation. In response to Wagner, I do agree that a shift in education may need to occur to more appropriately address the dynamic economy and job seeking market. However, I think he is slightly over-looking the value of traditional education. It would be dangerous to shift education strictly in a vocational direction because the importance of a more liberal education is timeless. History and knowledge of politics, literature and proficiency in the spoken word, science and understanding of the human body are all indisputably important aspects of education. The ever-changing economy calls for a change in the mentality of our work force, no longer can we blame exterior forces for the decline in employment, instead we must recognize the ability of each individual to spark changes in what could be the next generation of jobs. Although education must concur with this changing economy, it is necessary to make sure that society does not loose site of the values of traditional education while still modifying schools to become more innovative. 


7 thoughts on “Jobless or Innovator?

  1. Great blog it was very interesting and you showed personality in your writing. I especially liked the metaphors in the beginning. I agree that people are constantly coming up with excuses and things to blame for unemployment. They do this as a crutch instead of looking to themselves to start anew. The unknown scares people, but I agree that the new job world is “exhilirating”. It’s time to innovate and create new jobs! As mentioned in class, only 30% of jobs from the 1900’s still exist today. We need some “innovation ready” people.

  2. Very good references. The article in the New York Times that you referenced was very applicable to this topic and fit right in. I liked how you embedded a link to the article so that I could read it and understand what you were talking about. I also liked your direct reference to our lecture in class.
    Everything that you mention in your first paragraph is very accurate. It seems that we, as a society, look for any possible external factor to explain the rising unemployment in this country. Although there is definitely some correlation between the use of technology in business and the rising unemployment, other factors also contribute including the recent recession and struggling economy in the US. Also somewhat related to this topic is the idea put forth by Schumpeter that we learned in class about Creative Destruction. Essentially, he says that in order to move forward, we need to destroy some part of the past. If technology is the future, then the jobs that technology is slowly taking over represents the destruction of the past.
    I think that Wagner’s ideas about education are very thought-provoking and should be considered. I like how you gave your own opinion on the matter and I agree with you that there shouldn’t be a complete transition in the educational system, However, I do think that the educational system should inspire more creative thinking. Rather than trying to fit creative and ambitious students into a box, there should be more room for such students to explore the extreme potential of their creative minds. Overall, I liked this blog post a lot as it is a very relevant topic to society. In the current day and age, all people have the ability to create new types of jobs, companies, and entire industries.

  3. I thought you really utilized quotes from the article very well to explain the point and I think this is something that is really interesting for people our age who are near to entering the job market. What I thought was interesting was the quote that we don’t need people that are college ready but rather innovation ready. This is a scary thought for someone who has already spent a large amount of money and three years of my life in college. Hopefully I have learned a great deal of innovation as well as book knowledge in college. I think this is a good point though because of what we have learned in class about the expanding and ever changing job market. New jobs and technology needs to be created

  4. Interesting article, I have seen many like it in the WSJ over the past years. The advances in technology have lead to a job market that changes faster than ever. Shouldn’t technology allow for a person to change their skill set faster as well? If technology and education find the right type of fusion, I think we could see people who can be trained in new areas faster than ever.

  5. I love how the idea of innovator challenges the prevalent idea of unemployment. It is a new way of thinking and I agree that we should all change our mind set. “What you know matters far less than what you can do with what you know.” I found this quote very inspiring. Education nowadays should really change to promote student’s ability to innovate and think outside the box. While we are all worrying whether technology will take over jobs, we should concentrate more on creating some thing new because technology dont have the creativity we have. I like how you link the website with the title, rather than merely copy and paste the link!

  6. This a great topic to discuss. It involves what we are learning in class and what we are seeing, experiencing, or will be experiencing in the real world. Because of my the role technology now plays in business, I feel that it is truly necessary for realignment of the workforce. In particular, I feel that those who realign themselves faster will benefit in the future greater than those who hold on to the fleeting ways of old business operations.

    My roommates and I, BC seniors, have already started to feel the pressure of to realign. So much so that we had brainstormed over a couple beverages many different business ideas in an attempt to create the next Dell. We thought we had come up with a brilliant idea only to realize that there was already 20 companies doing the same thing. We were to slow.

  7. This is a very interesting topic thank you for writing about it. I think it is scary being a college student now and not knowing if you’ll be able to get a job out of college. The scariest part is that I or anyone else might try and get a job that does not even currently exist. I agree with you that Friedman may be devaluing traditional education a little too much, but what he is saying about training people to be more innovative really makes sense. My only worry is that with technology being to proficient in this day and age that many of people’s jobs are being replaced by capable technology. I know Friedman thinks we need to innovate and make new jobs, but it just seems to me that the number of jobs would shrink if we had technology capable of doing rudimentary jobs. Anyway, I thought the use of the pictures in your blog was great and it was a very engaging topic.

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