Outline for “The Psychological Impact of Dejobbing” • “You are what you do” – most Americans are defined in terms of their jobs, connected to a wider community through their jobs, and provided with structure and purpose by their jobs. • What you must learn, for today’s job environment – learn to live with work situations that are not framed by job descriptions and clear reporting relationships. We will have to learn to live with multiple roles, where the role mix changes frequently.
And we will have to find the income we need in such unstable and unpredictable conditions • The most difficult aspect of being laid off or otherwise “dejobbed” – The hardest part of being laid off is the mental aspect. ” In the long run it will probably be the psychological aspect of dejobbing that people find most difficult. Incomes are modular and portable; they can be replaced. Replacing the psychological rewards that jobs have provided is far more difficult. What work gives each of us, cognitively and emotionally – A job gives people parts to play and tells them what they need to do to feel good about their contribution. It gives them a way of knowing when they have done enough, and it tells them when their results are satisfactory. Jobs provide people with a place where they need to show up regularly, a list of things they’ve got to do; a role to play in some larger undertaking; a set of expectations to be measured against.
It gives them an everyday sense of purpose, and fulfilling such purpose is a source of self-esteem. For people whose personal lives are not going very well, the job may be the only source of self-esteem. • Relationship between order and change in the world of work today – The art of progress is to preserve order amid change and to preserve change amid order. ” It is important to recognize this reciprocal relationship and to understand that change and stability are not in an either-or relationship to one another…Without order, change has nothing to work on…but without hange, order cannot be maintained through time…You can feel this relation between change and order when you ride a bicycle: you need to keep making little turns, or else you won’t travel straight and stay upright for very long…what the dejobbed worker needs to look for is neither a way to recover absolute stability, nor a way to live with utter chaos, but a dynamic kind of order that does not block the flow of change How to give a sense of structure and meaning to your life if you are ever “dejobbed”: I.
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Grouping changes: 1. Goals – listing the three most important goals you have now…we’re looking for big, comprehensive goals here, not the many little ones. Then, decide what intermediate objectives (no more than three) each of your goals requires you to meet in the near future. Your to-do list comes from these nine objectives, but nine is too many. Prioritize them. Which three need to be done pronto? Which three could wait until next week? Which three simply have to be done sometime pretty soon? Now, take the ‘prontos. What immediate, first step does each of them demand? Write them down. Those are the actions you are going to take this week. 2. Steps – After any big change in your life, you are going to have to reprioritize again, because any big change changes the value you put on everything in your life…It’s also important to keep others up to date on what your priorities are, since any change is going to affect other people, too. The minute you start considering others, you will find that priority-setting isn’t a game of solitaire. . Actions – Keeping your priorities in order is easier if you are not being swamped by sudden and unexpected changes understand better than others the implications of changes that have already taken place. 4. Environmental shifts – , it is important to improve your capacity to see disruptive changes coming…subtle shifts in the environment that have already taken place but have not yet been fully recognized by the people who will be affected by them…The demise of jobs is such a shift:…closure of ilitary bases, the massive restructuring of the health care industry,… the end of American dominance in world markets…What economic, technological, demographic or cultural changes in your own work environment fall into this 5. Internal audit – conduct an audit of your…expectations, habits, contacts and personal “rules,” in regard to how they affect your ability to handle constant change. For each of these ask yourself, what is hindering you? What is helping you? Expectations: do you have expectations that are continually being violated by the next change, such as: • After this change, things will settle down. • If you are employed by a large organization, you will be insulated from the ravages of constant change. • If you “do a good job” for your employer, you’ll remain on the payroll. • A human being will always be able to do your job better than a machine will. • The government will step in if the competition from overseas gets too intense. • Long service to an organization will be viewed as a plus. Habits: It is critical for you to stay up to date on the social, technical and economic changes that are likely to have an impact on the kind of work you do…decide what periodicals you would read, and what professional or trade meetings you would attend, if you were an independent professional in the field. • Contacts: Are you ready to launch a personal business-development effort tomorrow by contacting the first two or three of the several dozen people who could help you move in whatever direction you decided was appropriate?
These would be people who, themselves, have contacts; or who know a lot about something you need to understand; or who might be partners in a joint venture, or who have resources you might be able to use, or who would be able to attest to your potential and accomplishments. • Personal “Rules”: Most of us are still playing under the old rules. You need to keep an eye out for them via your self-audit and replace them when find them; rules such as: • Don’t leave a job when good jobs are hard to get. Remember, your present job is only temporarily expedient…it is going to disappear. The best jobs go to the people with the best qualifications. This is a half-truth, because the whole idea of “qualification” is changing. The old ‘qualifications’ included degrees or other formal certification, experience in a similar job, and recommendations. Today, most recommendations are known to be hot air or tail-covering platitudes. Experience is more likely to produce a repetition of the past than the kind of new approach that today’s conditions demand. And there often isn’t any degree or certification in the activity that today’s organization needs.
The new meaning of “qualification” is – your D. A. T. A. • Don’t try to change careers after forty. • Getting into the “right business” assures a secure future…designating any field (as the “right” one) would be bad advice because although there are parts of the economy that are destined to expand, no part of the economy immune to dejobbing. • It doesn’t matter what you want; it’s what “they” want that counts. Most of us were raised on this one. Maturity was a matter of tempering our wants and of conforming to what someone with more influence and resources wanted of us.
But today, it doesn’t matter nearly as much what an organization wants as it used to. The power has moved elsewhere; the only “they” that matters much any more is, customers. • You have to be a salesman to get ahead today. Not necessarily, but what you do need is…a clear understanding of why someone needs what you have and do, and the ability to make your case effectively. Many people who do those well have no experience or interest in sales as a field. II. Changes in how work-related words are being defined: 1. “Qualification” – 2. “Risky” vs. “responsible” employment – III.
Frames of meaning: 1. Identity/integrity – is about psychological rather than ethical. It means wholeness With so much change and fragmentation in the new career world, you need a solid core of self. You have to be true to who you are; to your identity. Here, “identity” means sameness. It refers to the thread of being-the-same-person that runs through all the actions and relationships and statements of an integrated person. Thus the integrity/identity frame is capable of both maintaining continuity and containing change…It is the thread of sameness on which differing activities can be strung
The life journey – The first is a journey toward some external goal: influence and power, a happy family, salvation, or self-actualization. The characteristic of this journey is that it has a recognizable destination that is so desirable that we are willing to put up with the hardships along the way. Those hardships are just hurdles or barriers to be overcome. We may even see barriers as “filters” that keep the impure, the undeveloped or the basely motivated from reaching the valuable goal. We may also view them as filters that screen out those elements in ourselves, in which case we say that the journey made us better people.
On this second type of journey we are trying to become the people we are meant to be. We’re “ugly ducklings” who don’t know that we are really swans…we fail to see that most of what the “great people” of the world have accomplished was not done because they were different but because they were not busy trying to be somebody else. Most of what has been worth doing…was accomplished by people who were (like you and me, most of the time) self-doubting, ambivalent and more than a bit discouraged.
This second type of journey frames the difficulties along the way no so much as hurdles to be cleared as signals to be attended to, or even lessons to be learned…When someone on this journey says that “there are no accidents,” that does not mean hat we are living according to some great computer program in the sky, but simply that those times when “the wrong thing happens” are simply the times when we are looking at the world through the filters formed by our outgrown expectations.
It means that if we could see the accidental as if it were part of a lesson plan, Our original goals and expectations are little more than the “bait” that lure us into whatever is the next leg of the journey. Anyone who has come to appreciate these things and can see how often the life journey includes or even depends upon events and situations that we didn’t really want to happen can appreciate the definition of the journey offered by an anonymous sage: “A journey is a trip after you’ve lost your luggage. 1. Where you place your loyalties – As people get tossed around in the changes that are constantly happening in today’s organizations, they lose their loyalty to organizations and increase their loyalty to the kind of work they do. This constitutes a shift in the continuity-producing frame. The organization can no longer perform that task, since the individual’s connection with it is too easily broken. Only something portable can, so the profession, the vocation, or the work becomes the frame.
In another version of the same process, “professional growth” becomes the frame. Here the work and the journey metaphor are blended, as the changes that the person encounters are translated into chances to learn more about one’s vocation…The journey of increasing expertise and the journey toward mastery become personally meaningful frames, for they contain and give meaning to not only one’s achievements, but even to very serious work-related failures and disappointments. 2. Reality” – Quantum physics has taught us to think in terms of energy fields rather than solid matter, and has show us that some life changes occur not gradually or piecemeal as ordinary experience would suggest, but in “quantum leaps” wherein a pattern of energy moves suddenly from one state or level to another. Life sometimes has that quality – we wake up one morning and “everything has changed. ” The career that looked fine yesterday is today trivial and worthless. The relationship that was very important to us yesterday suddenly isn’t.
Or perhaps chaos theory provides an more effective metaphor. If the organization is not like a set of children’s building blocks, all horizontals and verticals on the organizational chart, perhaps the organization is more like flowing water…”Points” are unreal; it’s all flux. The patterns are like weather systems, only predictable in the very short term – yet undeniably ordered by some principle beyond randomness. Contemporary chaos theory talks about so-called strange attractors, which are the ordering principles within such apparently random patterns.
They are found in water flows, in the seasons, in the rise and fall of animal populations, in the behavior of financial markets…Such a ‘frame’ has the feel of life, its messiness-without-meaninglessness, its constant change and continuous transformation… Create “Islands of Order”: One of the ways to manage a life of constant change is to maintain stability in some areas your life by not letting change into them…some people whose careers have taken them all over the world have kept a home base somewhere that they return to whenever they need to put the pieces back together again.
Many people whose work associates come and go…keep a circle of friends which changes very little. Many people who go through professional identities as though they were seasonal clothing maintain a spiritual discipline…or play a sport seriously. These are the solid points of contact are their rock, which enable them to move safely. Other islands of order are temporal and periodic: quiet time every weekend, every other weekend, one weekend every month; a half-hour of meditation or solitary exercise every morning; two or three weeks “away from it all” every summer.
Some time-outs are occasional: a break, a totally free and passive period at the end of every big project. Some are spontaneous: a sudden decision to spend the afternoon at a movie, take a hike or swim, instead of working. Other islands of order are spatial. They are places where the person goes to break the pattern of constant change. It may be a little park near where you work that you stop by every lunch hour. It may be a room (even a corner of a room) in your house or a chair under a tree in the backyard.
It may be a motel room you rent at the beach. Whatever and wherever they are, these are places of order, where you take a break from constant input and output. Still other islands of order are created by favored activities. They may be hobbies…stamp collecting…playing a musical instrument or a sport…cooking, listening to music, taking walks, gardening, doing carpentry, brushing a horse, or training a dog. The common element is that time slows down, even stands still, when you do them.
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