Jobs and Social Responsibility

Like many, I am in a rut.  I have a job but want to be trained to do something more, without choosing bankruptcy to obtain further education.

Consider the model of the Netherlands in Fareed Zakaria’s report Global Lessons: Putting America to Work.  If companies lay off employees, they share in the social responsibility of finding those employees other work, often within the same company, thus maintaining a trained workforce, salaries, and safety nets for the tough times.

When you live within one system of humans doing things and you look into another system, it can be like someone giving you permission to dream, when you have never dared to dream before.  One of the great gifts of my hoity-toity liberal arts education (which required me to do work study 30 hrs/week and pay off loans for 20 years) was that I was exposed to people from all over the world.  My college had a vast majority of students who participated in overseas trips as part of their education, with the caveat that upon return, they must share what they learned with the rest of the student body.

Though I never participated in an overseas trip at that time, I did live with folks from other countries, learned to cook their foods, listen to their music, and generally put a face and heart to global statistics.  In short, I learned to see myself as a “global citizen.”  Once that internal shift happens, you begin to have tolerance of differences and live with the sense we are all spinning through space together as a global humanity.  I met some who decided the isolation and spiritual costs of striving for the “American dream” were too great, so decided to return to their home countries rather than remain and climb the ladder of success on our terms.  I feel that keenly now.

I want to be able to do a job that allows me to provide for me and my family without sacrificing my sanity.

At this time in the global economy, there is much desperation, some quiet, some not.

For me personally, I am aware at this time having a job is a huge gift, but should it feel like a “gift” or an assumed socially responsible right of every human in society?  Can’t and shouldn’t everyone who wants to contribute their sweat and tears and ingenuity be encouraged to do so?  What do you do if the job you have devoted your energies to for 18 years has declining not rising wages, and inches you ever closer to the ledge of no choice but to pull yourself up by your bootstraps?  Bootstraps are the American mantra, but these days, there is hardly a boot left to pull.  Or more of us are in the same boot with no one to do the pulling.

If interested in more information about my specific job situation today, see this articulate commentary:  Medical Transcriptionists Seek a Fair Shake

I am no longer so hopeful and would not recommend my career to anyone in the current climate, but in 2008 I published a letter in the same trade journal, “For the Record.”  Here was the ending paragraph:

I am proud of the work we do, am excited to continue to learn, and want to bring others into a career as an MT.  I only hope the future allows for opportunities for upward mobility, a place for our knowledge at the table of the electronic health record, and respect as a technical worker.






About Erin W

A sensitive plant, bamboo strong.
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