Monday, April 20, 2015

Ten Wonderful Things I'm Grateful For (Irony Alert)

Being grateful boosts your happiness. Ten wonderful things I'm grateful for.


Since every volume on the nearly endless shelf of pop psychology self-help books recommends working up some gratitude as the key to happiness, I've conjured up a list of what I'm grateful for. (Please turn your irony setting on.)

1. I'm grateful that our choice of president has been reduced to two equally detestable dynasties or their proxies. This greatly simplifies the process of selecting a warmongering figurehead for the Empire and its bankers.

2. I'm grateful that I can watch a full spectrum of entertainment, ranging from depraved to dreadfully unfunny on any device at anytime. This white noise helps block out any troubling clarity of thought or urge to ask what I might feel if I wasn't constantly distracted.

3. I'm grateful that there are so many opportunities to borrow money, because if I couldn't borrow more, I might miss an astounding opportunity to consume more of something I don't really need.

4. I'm grateful that every food item in the store now contains sugar in one form or another, or a sugar substitute. This simplifies the process of maintaining my addiction to sugar, as all I need to do is eat anything produced by Corporate America's food sector.

5. I'm grateful I live in a country where the government can trample on the rights of its citizens behind a thin veil of legitimacy. After all, what terrible thing might happen if the government couldn't arrest those horrible people tearing up their front yard lawn to plant a vegetable garden?

6. I'm grateful for our national obsession with fostering phony self-esteem that has no basis in accomplishment, dedication or sacrifice for others, as the self-absorbed, entitled populace will still feel good about themselves as the bloated, dysfunctional status quo implodes.

7. I'm grateful that we have institutionalized moral hazard as the unspoken law of the land, so financiers can gamble billions of dollars without worrying about the potential losses, as they know the taxpayers will foot the bill while they get to keep any gains.

8. I'm grateful our financial markets are now dominated by Federal Reserve manipulation, high frequency trading and dark pool shadow banking. This guarantees that all we commoners need to do to make a lot of money playing the stock market is to buy the dips.

9. I'm grateful that money can buy political influence so transparently, as this informal auction is open to anyone with tens of millions of dollars who wants to protect and expand their wealth and power.

10. I'm grateful that our mainstream media is owned by a handful of corporations, as the homogenized message they broadcast is reassuringly uniform. If every outlet is repeating that unemployment and inflation are low and the rising stock market is making us all wealthier, it must be true. 



Get a Job, Build a Real Career and Defy a Bewildering Economy(Kindle, $9.95)(print, $20)
go to Kindle editionAre you like me? Ever since my first summer job decades ago, I've been chasing financial security. Not win-the-lottery, Bill Gates riches (although it would be nice!), but simply a feeling of financial control. I want my financial worries to if not disappear at least be manageable and comprehensible. 


And like most of you, the way I've moved toward my goal has always hinged not just on having a job but a career.

You don't have to be a financial blogger to know that "having a job" and "having a career" do not mean the same thing today as they did when I first started swinging a hammer for a paycheck.


Even the basic concept "getting a job" has changed so radically that jobs--getting and keeping them, and the perceived lack of them--is the number one financial topic among friends, family and for that matter, complete strangers.


So I sat down and wrote this book: Get a Job, Build a Real Career and Defy a Bewildering Economy.


It details everything I've verified about employment and the economy, and lays out an action plan to get you employed.


I am proud of this book. It is the culmination of both my practical work experiences and my financial analysis, and it is a useful, practical, and clarifying read.


Test drive the first section and see for yourself.     Kindle, $9.95     print, $20


"I want to thank you for creating your book Get a Job, Build a Real Career and Defy a Bewildering Economy. It is rare to find a person with a mind like yours, who can take a holistic systems view of things without being captured by specific perspectives or agendas. Your contribution to humanity is much appreciated."
Laura Y.


Gordon Long and I discuss The New Nature of Work: Jobs, Occupations & Careers(25 minutes, YouTube) 




NOTE: Contributions/subscriptions are acknowledged in the order received. Your name and email remain confidential and will not be given to any other individual, company or agency.

Thank you, Jim T. ($50), for your superbly generous contribution to this site-- I am greatly honored by your support and readership.

Read more...

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Disrupt or Be Disrupted

Either join the disruptors or prepare to be disrupted.


Disruptive technology is a tiresome cliche, as every Twitter/ AirBnB/ Uber/ Skype/etc. wannabe start-up declares itself disruptive. That the vast majority of self-congratulatory start-ups are over-hyped and derivative should not distract us from the larger reality that some technologies do in fact disrupt how things are done.

Fossil-fueled mechanization, for example, turned an overwhelmingly rural farming society into a highly urbanized services-dominated economy.

In the more recent past, CraigsList single-handedly turned the newspaper industry from an immensely profitable license to print money (via costly classified ads) to a struggling sector with an unclear future.

Digital file-sharing turned the $14 billion music industry into a $7 billion industry.

And now driverless vehicles are poised to disrupt the taxi and trucking sectors in ways few predicted.

The core idea of Disrupt or be Disrupted is that every sector and industry that avoids being disrupted just becomes a fatter target for disruption.

Higher education is a prime example. The industry has successfully staved off disruption by maintaining a lock on credentialing/accreditation--the famous signaling value of a college diploma, which verifies nothing about what the student learned or knows.

Now that student loan debt is $1.3 trillion and the administrative bloat of higher education can no longer be obscured, the industry is becoming a fatter, juicier target for massive technological disruption by the day.

As I outlined in my book The Nearly Free University and the Emerging Economy, it is not that difficult to lower costs by 90% and improve the actual education process.

Employers should receive more than an increasingly worthless signal--they should be offered an accreditation of each individual's actual skills and knowledge. This is self-evident, but impossible in the current cartel-state arrangement.

Healthcare is another sector with bloated costs and protected fiefdoms that is ripe for fundamental disruption. Reductions of 50% or more that lead to better overall health do not require whizbang science fiction advances; simply eliminating the paperwork and cartels and making patients responsible for their care and the costs of their treatments would be enough to unleash a disruptive revolution.

What few in these protected industries dare admit is the state/cartel cost structures are now so burdensome, the nation can no longer afford these services.Healthcare has risen from 5% of GDP to 19%. The more burdensome and intractable the systemic costs, the greater the gains to be reaped from disrupting the status quo.

The Military-Industrial/National Defense Complex is another sector ripe for massive disruption and reduction of costs. Compare the troubled $1 trillion F-35 aircraft program (which is increasingly looking like the most expensive weapons system failure in human history) with increasingly effective and cheaper drones: A Drone Has Never Linked Up With a Refueling Tanker Until Now.

In other words, protecting unaffordable, ineffective fiefdoms and cartels will be a losing strategy in the next 20 years. These costs will come down, one way or another, either by the erosion and collapse of the funding sources or by tech-enabled socio-economic disruptions.

That leaves everyone depending on any existing sector/industry that hasn't yet been turned upside down with a choice: either join the disruptors or prepare to be disrupted.

This essay was drawn from Musings Report 11. The weekly Reports are emailed exclusively to subscribers ($5/month) and major contributors $50+/year). 




Get a Job, Build a Real Career and Defy a Bewildering Economy(Kindle, $9.95)(print, $20)
go to Kindle edition
Are you like me? Ever since my first summer job decades ago, I've been chasing financial security. Not win-the-lottery, Bill Gates riches (although it would be nice!), but simply a feeling of financial control. I want my financial worries to if not disappear at least be manageable and comprehensible.

And like most of you, the way I've moved toward my goal has always hinged not just on having a job but a career.

You don't have to be a financial blogger to know that "having a job" and "having a career" do not mean the same thing today as they did when I first started swinging a hammer for a paycheck.

Even the basic concept "getting a job" has changed so radically that jobs--getting and keeping them, and the perceived lack of them--is the number one financial topic among friends, family and for that matter, complete strangers.

So I sat down and wrote this book: Get a Job, Build a Real Career and Defy a Bewildering Economy.

It details everything I've verified about employment and the economy, and lays out an action plan to get you employed.

I am proud of this book. It is the culmination of both my practical work experiences and my financial analysis, and it is a useful, practical, and clarifying read.

Test drive the first section and see for yourself.     Kindle, $9.95     print, $20

"I want to thank you for creating your book Get a Job, Build a Real Career and Defy a Bewildering Economy. It is rare to find a person with a mind like yours, who can take a holistic systems view of things without being captured by specific perspectives or agendas. Your contribution to humanity is much appreciated."
Laura Y.

Gordon Long and I discuss The New Nature of Work: Jobs, Occupations & Careers(25 minutes, YouTube) 


NOTE: Contributions/subscriptions are acknowledged in the order received. Your name and email remain confidential and will not be given to any other individual, company or agency.


 Thank you, Al I. ($50), for your splendidly generous contribution to this site-- I am greatly honored by your steadfast support and readership.

Read more...

Friday, April 17, 2015

The Value of Learning To Cook

The potential of food to add beauty/pleasure to everyday life should not be under-estimated.


I have been discussing job skills for the past five days, but life skills are equally valuable. For example, knowing how to cook. Knowing how to cook offers benefits beyond just saving money (though that is important); when you know how to cook:

1. You and your household will eat healthier, better-tasting food

2. You can create joy by sharing what you make with friends/neighbors/roommates

3. You gain the power and confidence that comes with having useful skills
4. You can add beauty and pleasure to your life and the lives of others

5. You can dramatically improve your health

6. Your value as a spouse, roommate, friend, colleague etc. rises

7. You can save money for investing or spending on higher-priority items/experiences

8. You have a daily creative outlet

The joys of cooking are varied and flexible. Once you gain the basic skills of prep (chopping, slicing, etc.), stir-frying, sauteeing, baking, etc., then just about any recipe is open to you.

It takes a lot of practice to create beautiful food (presentation), but this is a bonus. I am not adept enough to fashion such perfect spring rolls as the lady of the household; these were her first spring rolls, made a week or so ago (the dipping sauce is from Charles Pham's cookbook Vietnamese Home Cooking):


This is more my style: a burger topped with a nice brie cheese (from Costco--very reasonably priced) and home-made pickles--a remarkably easy project.

Even the simplest meals can be presented attractively. Though beauty is dismissed in our culture unless it's being used to signal wealth/prestige/power, the potential of food to add beauty/pleasure to everyday life should not be under-estimated.

The social capital value of sharing appealing, home-made food should also not be under- estimated. Watch how everyone's eyes light up when you stop by with freshly baked pie or a delicious meal; the simple act of sharing something you devoted time and energy to make transforms a mundane day into a special one for the person receiving your home-cooked treat/meal.

By the time you set up to make one or two for yourself, it's not that hard to make more to share with others:


If you type what's cooking at our house into the custom search box in the upper left sidebar, you will find many entries such as What's Cooking at our House: Sichuan Green Beans. My goal in sharing our day-to-day cooking is to show that it isn't that hard to create delicious meals--especially if you have a garden. I am not a great cook, but being a great cook isn't necessary. Knowing the basics and understanding that the prep is 90% of the process is enough.

The hierarchies and complexities of our society tend to make us feel powerless and helpless. In many ways, we are powerless to change the socio-economic structures and some are more equal than others dynamics of the world we inhabit.

But we are not powerless or helpless when it comes to shaping our inner lives and our household lives. We can bring health, beauty, sharing and creativity into our lives by knowing how to cook. 



Get a Job, Build a Real Career and Defy a Bewildering Economy(Kindle, $9.95)(print, $20)
go to Kindle editionAre you like me? Ever since my first summer job decades ago, I've been chasing financial security. Not win-the-lottery, Bill Gates riches (although it would be nice!), but simply a feeling of financial control. I want my financial worries to if not disappear at least be manageable and 
comprehensible.

And like most of you, the way I've moved toward my goal has always hinged not just on having a job but a career.

You don't have to be a financial blogger to know that "having a job" and "having a career" do not mean the same thing today as they did when I first started swinging a hammer for a paycheck.

Even the basic concept "getting a job" has changed so radically that jobs--getting and keeping them, and the perceived lack of them--is the number one financial topic among friends, family and for that matter, complete strangers.


So I sat down and wrote this book: Get a Job, Build a Real Career and Defy a Bewildering Economy.


It details everything I've verified about employment and the economy, and lays out an action plan to get you employed.


I am proud of this book. It is the culmination of both my practical work experiences and my financial analysis, and it is a useful, practical, and clarifying read.


Test drive the first section and see for yourself.     Kindle, $9.95     print, $20


"I want to thank you for creating your book Get a Job, Build a Real Career and Defy a Bewildering Economy. It is rare to find a person with a mind like yours, who can take a holistic systems view of things without being captured by specific perspectives or agendas. Your contribution to humanity is much appreciated."

Laura Y.

Gordon Long and I discuss The New Nature of Work: Jobs, Occupations & Careers(25 minutes, YouTube) 




NOTE: Contributions/subscriptions are acknowledged in the order received. Your name and email remain confidential and will not be given to any other individual, company or agency.

Thank you, William M. ($50), for your stupendously generous contribution to this site-- I am greatly honored by your steadfast support and readership.

Read more...

Thursday, April 16, 2015

The Changing World of Work 5: "Human Robots" and High-Level Skills

A diploma by itself does not create value; only experiential skills create value.


While it is impossible to summarize the job market in a vast, dynamic economy, we can say that the key to any job is creating value. That can be anything from serving someone a plate of mac-and-cheese to fixing a decaying fence to feeding chickens to securing web servers to managing a complex project--the list is essentially endless.

The question is: how much value does the labor create? The value created, and the number of people who are able to do the same work, establishes the rate employers can afford to pay for that particular task/service.

As noted elsewhere in this series, work that can be commoditized has low value because it can be outsourced or replaced by software and machines. In cases where it is not tradable, i.e. it cannot be performed overseas, the value is limited by the profit margins of the service being provided and the number of people who can perform the work.

In many cases, for example, the fast food industry, workers are trained to become human robots, highly efficient at repeating the same tasks dozens of times per shift.

The severe limitation of human robot jobs is that they rarely offer much opportunity to learn a wide variety of skills--precisely what enables us to create more value with our labor.

Longtime correspondent Kevin K. describes how this lack of opportunity is a function of Corporate America, which demands every employee follow set procedures to homogenize the customer experience throughout the company and insure the product is the same everywhere in the market sector.

Small business, in contrast, allows for young employees to learn by doing a wider range of tasks and perhaps even experiment with products and placement. Here's Kevin's commentary:
On our way home yesterday we stopped for lunch at a Rubios (a Mexican chain with about 200 locations). I was telling my wife that the young people working for minimum wage at the sterile corporate Rubios today have a VERY different work experience than my friend Sean had working at the second Rubios in 1985 where he got to work side by side with founder Ralph Rubio. 
Looking around the mall, 100% of the stores were big chains with 100+ locations and corporate top-down management where just about anyone with an 8th grade education can do 90% of the jobs and people don't have any ability to do anything different or get creative. 
When I worked in the local grocery store in High School I could put items where I thought they would sell best (we would keep track of this to see if say Bud Light sold faster after we moved it above the Coors Light closer to eye level, after I got down from the roof after adjusting the beer case HVAC unit to make it colder). 
Today kids in retail have to put everything in the exact spot that the corporate marketing people tell them to put it (and would never be allowed to get on the roof and work on the HVAC system).
Correspondent David C. related the results of conversations he recently had with two young American engineers working for major companies in the U.S. The take-away reinforces one of the key points made earlier in this series: that creativity, communication and collaboration are as important as engineering skills in creating high value goods and services. Here is David's commentary:
Young Engineer #1's job (as I understand it) is to take what the people in "Business" want (to offer a new product, to mine the data for new opportunities, etc.) and
1. through his knowledge of the firm's technology databases and data structures say whether what is desired is even possible, or propose parallel alternatives, and
2. determine how a new set of programming instructions would be structured to work with existing systems and produce the desired output.The actual coding is off-shored to coders in India. He writes essentially zero code, despite being assigned previously to a COBOL-language mainframe system. 
Young Engineer #2 noted that essentially everything being taught in Comp Sci classes in college is outmoded. He said that now there are entire libraries of open-source code available, and people doing a project simply have to organize the pieces, seeking out and copying "prior art" that is freely available to accomplish tasks of great complexity without reinventing the wheel for any of it. 
I got the impression that while knowing how to write actual instructions and compile them may be useful base knowledge, it's simply not relevant to day-to-day work in the field. 
Both of these explanations inform me that the basic skill needed is highly abstract, conceptual thinking, the ability to organize multiple elements into a coherent whole and to think through IN ADVANCE the series of intermediate results that combine into a final output. 
Then add another necessary skill: interpersonal communication. Young Engineer #1 notes that foreign students in the US getting advanced degrees in STEM fields are wildly intelligent, but in his experience they simply can't connect with the "people in Business." The gulf between them is too wide, and so despite being fabulously intelligent and skilled, the overseas-educated engineers often can't deliver what the firm actually needs. 
The overseas-educated engineers are often extremely bright and very skilled at the academics of engineering, but are often hamstrung by cultural variables that render them poor at problem-solving, especially when individual initiative and willingness to break convention are what's needed.
Kevin submitted a U.S. Census chart of the educational attainment of everyone 25 and older. His comment sheds light on one of the structural difficulties in creating high value: the number of college graduates exceeds the number of positions that create enough value to demand high wages. Kevin commented:

In the last 40 years the number of people over 25 without a HS diploma has been cut in half while the number of people over 25 with a college degree has more than doubled. The only problem (as you pointed out a while back when you said that having 10 people get PhDs in chemical engineering this year will not create 10 new jobs for chemical engineers this year) is that the number of jobs that "need" college degrees has not doubled.


A diploma by itself does not create value; only experiential skills create value. The more skills a person owns across a range of disciplines and trades--not just specialized skills but the professional skills of problem-solving and bringing out the best in others--the greater the opportunities for value creation and matching compensation.




Get a Job, Build a Real Career and Defy a Bewildering Economy(Kindle, $9.95)(print, $20)
go to Kindle edition
Are you like me? Ever since my first summer job decades ago, I've been chasing financial security. Not win-the-lottery, Bill Gates riches (although it would be nice!), but simply a feeling of financial control. I want my financial worries to if not disappear at least be manageable and comprehensible.

And like most of you, the way I've moved toward my goal has always hinged not just on having a job but a career.

You don't have to be a financial blogger to know that "having a job" and "having a career" do not mean the same thing today as they did when I first started swinging a hammer for a paycheck.

Even the basic concept "getting a job" has changed so radically that jobs--getting and keeping them, and the perceived lack of them--is the number one financial topic among friends, family and for that matter, complete strangers.

So I sat down and wrote this book: Get a Job, Build a Real Career and Defy a Bewildering Economy.

It details everything I've verified about employment and the economy, and lays out an action plan to get you employed.

I am proud of this book. It is the culmination of both my practical work experiences and my financial analysis, and it is a useful, practical, and clarifying read.

Test drive the first section and see for yourself.     Kindle, $9.95     print, $20

"I want to thank you for creating your book Get a Job, Build a Real Career and Defy a Bewildering Economy. It is rare to find a person with a mind like yours, who can take a holistic systems view of things without being captured by specific perspectives or agendas. Your contribution to humanity is much appreciated."
Laura Y.

Gordon Long and I discuss The New Nature of Work: Jobs, Occupations & Careers(25 minutes, YouTube) 


NOTE: Contributions/subscriptions are acknowledged in the order received. Your name and email remain confidential and will not be given to any other individual, company or agency.


 Thank you, Walter S. ($250), for your beyond-outrageously generous contribution to this site-- I am greatly honored by your steadfast support and readership.

Read more...

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The Changing World of Work 4: The "Signal" Value of Credentials Is Eroding

An entire new feedback loop of accreditation is needed, and fortunately that feedback is within our control: it's a process I call accredit yourself.


Economist Michael Spence developed the job market signaling model of valuing employees based on their credentials in the 1970s. The basic idea is that signaling overcomes the inherent asymmetry of information between employer and potential employee, i.e. what skills the employer needs and what skills the employee actually has is a mystery to the other party.

Credentials (diplomas, certificates, grad point averages, test scores, etc.) send a signal that transfers information to the employer about the opportunity cost the potential employee sacrificed for the credential.

It is important to note that the credential doesn't necessarily signal the employee's actual skills or knowledge-- it only signals the amount of human and financial capital the employee and his family invested in obtaining the credential.

Signaling boils down to something like this: if Potential Employee A graduated from a prestigious Ivy League university, and Potential Employee B graduated from a lower-ranked state university, this doesn't signal that Candidate A is necessarily more intelligent than Candidate B; it does signal, however, that Candidate A probably worked harder to get into and graduate from the prestigious school.

The signal is: Candidate A will work harder for the employer than Candidate B, all other qualifications being equal.

The Signal Value of credentials is the entire foundation of higher education. The higher education system does not actually test or credential the body of knowledge or working skills of graduates; it simply accredits that the graduate sat through a semi-random selection of courses and managed to pass the minimal standards--or alternatively, that the graduate gamed/cheated the system to gain credit without actually doing any real learning.

The reason tens of thousands of parents are sweating blood to get their child into an Ivy League university is the signaling power of that degree is widely viewed as having the near-magical ability to guarantee lifelong highly compensated employment.

But the power of higher education credentials is eroding for systemic reasons.

1. Credentials of all sorts are in over-supply: there are more people holding credentials than there are jobs that require those credentials.

2. Higher education does not prepare graduates for the real world of work in the emerging economy, so the signaling value of a diploma has been lost.

3. The opportunity cost paid by those graduating from college is now more noise than signal.

4. The intrinsically ambiguous signal value of a credential cannot be substituted for real-world accreditation of real skills and working knowledge.

In essence, the failure of signaling to accredit actual skills and knowledge bases is being acknowledged by employers. This accreditation is precisely what diplomas fail to do. Specialty programs (nursing, medicine) accredit the skills and knowledge of the graduates, but this is not true of the vast majority of diplomas and credentials.

The job-market value of a college degree was relatively high in the 1970s when Spence developed the Signal Model because the number of workers with college diplomas was still relatively modest (around 15% of the workforce). The most basic function of the market--supply and demand--worked in favor of what was relatively scarce--a college diploma. As a result, the assumption that the applicant had worked hard to obtain the degree was more signal than noise.

Nowadays, conventional credentials such as college degrees are in over-supply:around 40% of the work force has a college diploma of some sort, and an increasing number of college graduates are taking jobs that do not require a college education.

This is reflected in the declining wages of college graduates: Even the Most Educated Workers Have Declining Wages.


While the cost of higher education has skyrocketed (tuition is up 1,100% since 1980), the educational yield of higher education has declined. The national studyAcademically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses, found that over one third of college students "did not demonstrate any significant improvements in learning critical thinking and other skills central to success in the new economy" and concluded that"American higher education is characterized by limited or no learning for a large proportion of students.".

From this dismal record, we can extrapolate that another third gained marginal utility from their investment of tens of thousands of dollars and four years of study.

Google is widely viewed as a bellwether of the new economy. It is noteworthy, then,that Google has found that academic success has little correlation with being productive in the workplace. Lazlo Bock, Senior Vice President of People Operations at Google, made the following comments in an interview published by the New York Times in June 2013:
One of the things we've seen from all our data crunching is that G.P.A.s (grade point averages) are worthless as a criteria for hiring, and test scores are worthless. Google famously used to ask everyone for a transcript and G.P.A.s and test scores, but we don't anymore. We found that they don't predict anything. What's interesting is the proportion of people without any college education at Google has increased over time as well. So we have teams where you have 14 percent of the team made up of people who've never gone to college.
Signaling an ability to grind though four or five years of institutional coursework is no longer enough; the signaling needed to indicate an ability to create value must be much richer in information density and more persuasive than a factory model diploma.

A resume is equally thin on information that accredits a worker's knowledge, skills and professionalism. A resume is a public-relations summary that everyone knows has been tailored to present the candidate in the best possible light. And precisely how useful and trustworthy is PR in any setting?

Put yourself in the shoes of a hiring manager or potential collaborator: there is precious little useful information in either a diploma or a resume. As a result, human resources departments have been tuned to eliminate as many candidates as possible by signal-based winnowing rather than by the collection of useful information on the skills, knowledge and professionalism of the potential employee/collaborator.

Conforming to social behavioral norms and being able to grind through mind-numbing work used to be enough to create value in the economy--but this is no longer the case for high-value (i.e. well-paid) work. The "signaling" camp holds that a degree showing the student sat through four or five years of classes is sufficient to justify hiring the person. That the student learned essentially nothing useful doesn't matter; the entire value of college is in the last class needed to get the diploma.

This was true in the long postwar boom when the number of well-paid jobs expanded at a faster rate than the number of college graduates. This is simply no longer true.

In contrast to the "signaling" theory of value, the "human capital" camp holds that working knowledge is what creates value. If the student learns little critical thinking, real skills or practical knowledge, then a college degree has little value.

Conformity and being able to navigate stifling bureaucracies no longer creates value or helps employers solve real-world problems. This is why college graduates can send out hundreds of resumes and not even receive a single reply, much less an interview or job offer.

Systems analysis teaches us that changing the parameters of a system (for example, adding another line to your resume or getting another degree) does not change the system; only adding a new feedback loop can change the system.

Clearly, an entire new feedback loop of accreditation is needed, and fortunately that feedback is within our control: it's a process I call accredit yourself. The most powerful feature of accredit yourself is the process is open to anyone: recent college graduates, those without degrees, those re-entering the workforce, those seeking to launch their own enterprises--everyone who wants an income stream in the emerging economy.

I outline the process of accrediting yourself in my book Get a Job, Build a Real Career and Defy a Bewildering Economy. The fundamental concept is straightforward: don't rely on signaling--prove your skills and knowledge with real-world examples and accounts from respected people in your field. Don't rely on fluff PR--demonstrate your skills and knowledge in a verifiable fashion.

Of related interest:

Why the American Dream is unraveling, in 4 charts The young and poor in America ‘are completely clueless about the kinds of skills and savvy and connections needed to get ahead.’

Everything I've Written On Education Comes Down To Cultural Capital And Skills 




Get a Job, Build a Real Career and Defy a Bewildering Economy(Kindle, $9.95)(print, $20)
go to Kindle edition
Are you like me? Ever since my first summer job decades ago, I've been chasing financial security. Not win-the-lottery, Bill Gates riches (although it would be nice!), but simply a feeling of financial control. I want my financial worries to if not disappear at least be manageable and comprehensible.

And like most of you, the way I've moved toward my goal has always hinged not just on having a job but a career.
You don't have to be a financial blogger to know that "having a job" and "having a career" do not mean the same thing today as they did when I first started swinging a hammer for a paycheck.

Even the basic concept "getting a job" has changed so radically that jobs--getting and keeping them, and the perceived lack of them--is the number one financial topic among friends, family and for that matter, complete strangers.

So I sat down and wrote this book: Get a Job, Build a Real Career and Defy a Bewildering Economy.

It details everything I've verified about employment and the economy, and lays out an action plan to get you employed.

I am proud of this book. It is the culmination of both my practical work experiences and my financial analysis, and it is a useful, practical, and clarifying read.

Test drive the first section and see for yourself.     Kindle, $9.95     print, $20

"I want to thank you for creating your book Get a Job, Build a Real Career and Defy a Bewildering Economy. It is rare to find a person with a mind like yours, who can take a holistic systems view of things without being captured by specific perspectives or agendas. Your contribution to humanity is much appreciated."
Laura Y.

Gordon Long and I discuss The New Nature of Work: Jobs, Occupations & Careers(25 minutes, YouTube) 


NOTE: Contributions/subscriptions are acknowledged in the order received. Your name and email remain confidential and will not be given to any other individual, company or agency.


 Thank you, Duane S. ($25), for your marvelously generous contribution to this site-- I am greatly honored by your support and readership.

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All content on this blog is provided by Trewe LLC for informational purposes only. The owner of this blog makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site. The owner will not be liable for any errors or omissions in this information nor for the availability of this information. The owner will not be liable for any losses, injuries, or damages from the display or use of this information. These terms and conditions of use are subject to change at anytime and without notice.


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