Saturday, January 03, 2015

A free ,market cultural revolution

When I was working in my “long sequence” IT career (from 1970 through the end of 2001), I tended to see each workplace, as I got used to it, as “my universe”.  It got a bit more nuanced in 1997 once I had established myself with a second track as an author and moved to Minneapolis (for the last four of those 31 years), as my publishing world was also a “universe” (it’s no accident that “iUniverse” is the trademarked name of a major self-publishing company and brand).  And, at many points, when my job was perhaps less demanding, my personal life, and all the little intrigues thereof, that went through so many stages, also became “the world”. 
Once I “retired” at the end of 2001 (bought out, pretty much had to) I really had to find out how the other half lived.  I knew that it would be a real challenge to continue the career I had, at age 58, partly because of the fact that I had my own online reputation as a pundit, but also because the “nature” of work was changing so much after Y2K was over with. 
I would definitely learn what “the real world” deals with, with the interim jobs that I would hold and interview for subsequently, as outlined on Wordpress here. So what do “real people” deal with?  Well, regimentation, for one thing.  Wearing uniforms (although I cut my own interview with the TSA short at an open house in Aug. 2002).  I came within a “hair” (I could use an Army term) of getting a “real job” as a letter carrier in Nov. 2004;  only the inability to get my medical records from Minnesota (after that 1998 hip fracture) stopped it.  Could I have done a physical job like this accurately, starting every day “canvassing the mail”?  One of the worst ideas was delivery of newspapers, getting up at 2 AM.  Another was driving a taxi, which is dangerous.  If I faced this today, the game would be all Uber. 
The other big thing was hucksterism, approaching people to sell them “stuff”.  I actually did this for 14 months for the Minnesota Orchestra Guaranty Fund (in 2002-2003), but this was a little more acceptable then than it is now.  Again, that little part time job became another “Universe” giving me some stability and shelter from facing worse.
But the range of other sales ventures I fielded seems shocking now.  Some of it seemed really cheesy – Primevest, predicated on getting people to convert whole life to term.  And then two companies would approach me about becoming an insurance agent (New York Life and Humana).  And HR Block would approach me about becoming a tax advisor.  I could not do these things and do what I do now, because I would have to manage my social media contacts to sell someone else’s product, not mine.  For a debt collection job, I was once asked whether I could "make people do things", a rather offensive question.
I've covered elsewhere my escapades as a substitute teacher.  Had I realized that subs in VA didn't have to be licensed, could I have come back a year earlier and planned to become, say, a calculus teacher?  I covered some of the COI considerations on my main blog Dec. 18.  But the real need was for people in lower grades and special ed.  You had to be ready for very "intimate" responsibilities for some students like it or not;  that would drown an older male adult who had not raised his own family.   
Still, this whole exercise leads me to appreciate where Maoism came from,  I was experiencing the outskirts of a “free market cultural revolution”.  

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