The World of Work
I always try to catch the local paper about this time of year as high school graduation approaches. It's easy to spot... the full pages of little pictures of the head and shoulders of seniors of all sizes and shapes. The caption reads: So-and-so is the son or daughter of... (mother's and father's last names more often that not, don't match) who will be entering X community college in the field of diesel repair. Most kids from the local high school state that they are bound for some specific curriculum somewhere, headed for two to four or more years of academic buffer before gaining the prize. But then there are others of these kids whose pictures indicate they are heading directly from high school into the dreadful netherworld: THE WORLD OF WORK.
Reading about these kids that were just throwing themselves on the mercy of the want ads after school used to kinda make me grieve. How sad, I thought, that little Bubba has no goals, no career track or expectations after graduation but to be assimilated into the machinery of the marketplace, a small cog in the great machine of commerce. He'll wander from job to job, used and used up by one employer after another, subject to schedules and policies and rules that he has no control over. His wages will be at the whim of decisions made in boardroom meetings from conglomerate agreements that he will not be privy to and his benefits, if he has any, will rise and fall with the price of pork bellies on the Asian market. How sad.
I'm here to tell ya: There are countless folks in lots of 'career tracks', for instance.... hmmmm.. healthcare.... that will tell you this. They thought they were launching a lifelong plan when they went to medical school or nursing school or physical therapy school all those hard years. They were driven by the belief that they would become health care providers. With this credential they would gain a secure, profitable and rewarding profession in which they would be able with a few years of experience to make a good income, control their work conditions to a large degree, and count on the support and gratitude of a reputable and stable agency or corporation that would value and nurture them as an integral part of the team. And the ultimate purpose of everyone from the CEO on down would be the provision of excellent patient care. What a nice thing to look forward to as one's life work.
Nah. No matter what it says on the head and shoulders caption, they're all entering the WORLD OF WORK. This is not your father's Oldsmobile.
I mention this as a long winded way of telling you that I'm back in the clinic again a few days a week (as a physical therapist, if you're coming to Fragments as a newbie) and my low expectations for this work seem already to be warranted. I confess I've pretty well fallen off the healthcare career ladder after thirteen years. Actually, I guess you might say that I jumped off of it about a year ago. I'm still wondering what I'm going to do with my remaining 'good years' here peering over the edge of the World of Work. I'll keep you posted. But I'm thinking about diesel repair.