The Changing Work Market

The world is undoubtedly changing it’s shape.

The way people work is different now. Once upon a time it was considered a sign of unreliability or incompetence. Now it’s an indication of moving up and going on to greater things.

There’s a great sense of urgency in the world today. Staying at one job longer than absolutely necessary to gain the skills and acquire the experience from it is considered stagnation. The philosophy seems to be leaning toward the idea that if you’re not moving, you’re falling behind.

What industries are left that still look at stability as a positive asset? Let’s not be extreme; many still do. The situation really depends on the age, field, and achievements of the individual.

A 20-something recent college graduate would not likely be advised to stay at the first major-applicable job he or she encounters. A 40-year-old already working in their chosen field, however, may be counseled, or may make the choice on their own, to remain where they are, for family or even simply career stability.

Is this just a difference in the generations? Is it defined by the timeline of careers in general? Is it a recent development in the career market? The answer is likely a combination of the three. The change in the career market may be what is affecting the generations’ view of how a career’s timeline should go.

What do you think is responsible for this change in the corporate job market?

Check out this video, and see what you think.


Media Observations – Netflix and Streaming TV

We often hear the lament of a student who has not yet completed a heavy assignment because, “Netflix had the whole season and I marathoned through the whole thing.” The same is true of those who stay up late (or don’t sleep at all) because the show they were watching has four seasons out and they’ve only seen two.

I’ve seen this happen a considerable amount, especially in my own apartment. I’ve previously mentioned that it’s hard to go without watching a large of amount of TV in my living space, and one of the reasons for that is that one roommate or another is usually streaming their way through an entire season of one show or another featured on Netflix. Glee, Psych, Game of Thrones, Arrow; all of these and more are temporary tenants in the apartment, usually staying for a week or two until roommate X gets through all the seasons of it and picks a different one.

It’s great to have all this televised media at our disposal, and on a slow, recharging sort of day it can be enjoyable and even useful to catch up on a story one may have missed, but at the same time it can have some unpleasant consequences: There’s no limiter; nothing stops the viewer from just letting the site keep playing the next show. Without a week-by-week limitation, viewers can just press play one time and Netflix won’t stop until every episode is played or the viewer says “Enough.”

This damages sleep schedules, sociality and even mental health, to some degree.

Sleep schedules, when disturbed, can interfere with many other parts of a human being. Overall energy, drive for living, and health can all deteriorate very rapidly. In fact, a psychologist named Matthew Walker, of UC Berkeley, says that “almost all psychiatric disorders show some problems with sleep.”  Nikhil Swaminathan cited this in a 2007 article for Scientific American, and later said that new research from Walker’s lab is starting to give the idea that sleep deprivation actually is actually the root cause for many psychological illnesses and mental unwellness.

Netflix, Hulu, and other streaming television services can be useful tools, but it’s important to take all things in moderation.

How often or how much do you watch seasons of your favorite shows online? Is there some way that it helps you?


TED Talk – Clay Shirky, “How Cognitive Surplus Will Change the World”

TED Talk – Clay Shirky

Clay Shirky, an American writer who specializes in Internet communications theories, speaks in this TED Talk of the great capacity the Internet has given us, the consumers, to become creators.

Shirky beforehand makes it clear that, in his opinion, people were not just couch potatoes because they wanted to be; it was just their only option in the day when television was the bulk of the mass media available.

Shirky goes on to talk about a story in which two programmers programmed a website called Ushahidi for use during violent hostilities in Kenya, to keep the public informed of the developments and events that were going on in the various geographical locations, automatically mapping and reporting any event info sent in. The site was effective enough that the programmers turned it into a site format, and now the same event mapping service has been applied to a wide variety of situations, from snow clearing in major cities to disaster statistics and advisories in the Haiti earthquakes.

The next topic of discussion was somewhat unexpected. Lolcats took the screen. Shirky used these two things as examples of how the Internet and electronic media have transformed the way we participate in the world around us, describing the first, more constructive and charitable use of the internet as “civic” creation, and the second, recreational and less-useful application of the Internet’s creative capabilities as “communal” creation.

The gist of what he said was profound, and speaks volumes of our nature as human beings. Whereas in the time of television and radio, we were mostly consumers with limited creative capabilities, the advent of electronic media, the Internet, and advanced digital coding have made it possible for us to be more than only consumers. Now we are sharers and, most intriguing of all, creators.

The technology of the Internet has given every member of humanity with Internet access the potential to become a creator. Our ability to create was previously limited to the physical world around us, but now we can create software that does incredible things to the world around us…or we can make lolcat pictures.

That’s where it gets tricky. Lolcat makers are still creators. They’re just silly ones. Their creation has little to no value to society, and is just a social creation. That’s why Shirky calls them a communal creation, because they are for a specific community and don’t serve any purpose to anyone else. The makers of Ushihida, on the other hand, created something that served their community, but now also serves anyone else in all the world who needs a similar service. Shirky called this civic creation because it now serves as a civil service to all the world.

Communal creation is all well and good, but I agree with Shirky in that when we as a society can motivate and reward civic creation appropriately, giving it the prominence it deserves, then our surplus of cognition, the great and largely untapped creative potential of the mass of the human race, will change our world.

What do you create? Do you feel it’s a communal, or a civic creation?