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EDN Themes: Work & Career

Listed below are entries for the Work & Career theme. Related entries can be found through keyword searches. For example, creativity can be found in other themes. Using Google "Search This Site" to do a keyword search for "creativity" reveals related entries in other themes.

Bullying: Transition to the Workplace

Learning can be violent.

Recently, the term bullying has been gaining momentum with reference to the workplace. News broadcasts have started to describe various workplace scenarios in which bullying has become prevalent. At the core of bullying is victimization, a long-standing and unfortunate tradition of human interaction that has taken many shapes throughout history. The articles I read reminded me of my daughter's experiences with bullying, but also shifted my attention to the adult world. A Google search for entries about victimization on EDN revealed, to my surprise, a number of references.

We tend to think of bullying as a physical means of literally beating a person up, but in the workplace it is largely psychological. It is interesting to watch how insecure people intentionally spread rumours and misinformation with the intent to cause another individual some form of harm. Psychological bullying can have devastating effects on the unwary. However, in the end that we all face, bullying will ultimately devastate the bully...

Posted in Work & Career | (Jul14/04) | Read/Comments (0) |

Bullying: Workplace Discontent

The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety has published Workplace bullying harms both employees and employers - a well-written article that adds to the growing amount of coverage of anger and aggression in our world under the banner of bullying. Much, perhaps too much, has been made of informal learning (i.e. - learning that is commonly symbolized by a water cooler), but if we allow for the idea of informal learning then it may be that bullying is now a significant feature of that learning.

Workplace bullying harms both employees and employers makes reference to a boss that expects his subordinates to get his coffee and pick up his dry cleaning. This is a clear indication that we need better mechanisms to fire superiors. I was also naively surprised since I incorrectly thought such haute-couture-caveman-ugh-and-grunt behaviour was mostly behind us, but apparently it isn't. The definition of bullying is concisely stated as...

Posted in Work & Career | (Aug26/04) | Read/Comments (0) |

Class: The Educated Class vs. Real Life Experience

Artist and author Ray Tapajna explores the gap between the realities of the street and the realities of the classroom. He states that factory work gave him more knowledge about life than the classroom. In a sense, the conclusion of his education gave way to the challenges of authentic learning. In Learning Styles: Whose styles are these and what are they for?, Ray provides a number of interesting insights into his own learning...

Posted in Work & Career | (Oct10/05) | Read/Comments (3) |

Consulting: Desulting the Consultants

Having worked as a business and educational consultant, and therefore becoming familiar with consultant-speak, it soon occured to me that consultants often create solutions to problems that don't exist - or at least they didn't exist before the consultant arrived. Enter the HuhCorp [via Dave and Rob] whose motto is, "We do stuff." One of McLuhan's quips was that behind every joke is a grievance...

Posted in Work & Career | (Jan24/05) | Read/Comments (4) |

Employment: What is it really for?

There is a growing sense of unrest in the employment arena. Many people are finding themselves displaced or trapped by traditional employment structures. Recently, on CNN, I listened to a piece about the hidden unemployed - those people that have been "right-sized" and have, for the most part, given up on finding a job. I doubt that these people can be labelled lazy or unintelligent in any way - they may perhaps be too experienced in the downside of corporate life to want to return to it...

Posted in Work & Career | (Apr 7/04) | Read/Comments (0) |

Narrative: David Whyte - Crossing the Unknown Sea - Work as a Pilgrimage of Identity

Crossing The Unknown Sea: Work as a Pilgrimage of Identity by David Whyte is one of the best books I've read on the issues surrounding lifework and our identity. From the opening sentence, "Work is a very serious matter in almost all respects, whether it is in the shelter of our home or work in the big, wide, dangerous world." David Whyte takes us on a journey centered on the meaning of work in our lives. In the previous entry, I introduced the idea of "lifework" - the idea that our sources of inspiration and passion in life and our work should not, and in the end cannot be separate. Living life means doing some kind of work. In its most general sense, work means putting forther effort in making or doing something. When we use the word "work" we naturally think of limited things like jobs, careers, and money. While this understanding of the word is obviously important, it is a very narrow, misleading and potentially harmful limitation...

Posted in Work & Career | (Apr11/04) | Read/Comments (0) |

Poverty: Learning, survival and low-wage America

My son passed on an interesting book to me that afforded a different perspective on how people learn. He has become quite interested in the issue of "corporate responsibility." We often speak of such notions as "authentic" learning or more when we wish to add a greater degree of mystery to the phrasing, "learning by doing." Yet what we consider to be authentic, or the things we "do" in order to learned, are often emotionally and spiritually sterilzed in educational settings. That is, the nature of authenticity or doing rarely takes us to the edge of living, or more to the point, surviving. Yet it is often through narratives of survival that the most profound opportunities for learning arise.

In Nickel and Dimed: On (not) getting by in America Barabara Ehrenreich (2001) shares her undercover experiences trying to survive in low-wage America. A book like this has a great deal to reveal about the nature of learning in difficult (an understatement) circumstances. Whether we like to admit it or not, our society marginalizes some people while providing ridiculously extravagant lifestyles for others. This reveals an inability, or perhaps more accurately our lack of willingness, to do something concrete and practical for people in oppressive and exhausting circumstances that we have created. But, in educational settings, our awareness of authentic real-life circumstances often seems to take a back seat to the primacy of data, facts and information, especially those aspects of information that are intimately linked to financial and economic undercurrents.

The basic question Barbara pursued in her investigation was, "How does anyone live on the wages available to the unskilled?" More specifically, "How, in particular, we wondered, were the roughly four million women about to be booted into the labour market by welfare reform going to make it on $6 or $7 an hour?" And, of course, the best way to learn the answers to these questions is to go out and experience it...

Posted in Work & Career | (Jun24/04) | Read/Comments (0) |

Progress: Work as Occupation / Work as Vocation

The Whatever Happened to Leisure Society? the Work Less Party takes aim at exposing the hidden assumptions of work and revealing the effects it can have on people's lives. At the core of their message is the idea that our way of understanding and measuring progress is in conflict with quality of life. We have tendency to equate progress with materialism and commercialism more than we do quality of life. While this seems reasonable, work need not be something we should spend less time doing...

Posted in Work & Career | (Jan 9/05) | Read/Comments (7) |

Research Archive: Work & Career

A list of Work & Career resources powered by Furl, Feedburner, and Feed2JS:

Posted in Work & Career | (Dec27/04) | Read/Comments (0) |

Retirement: Plunging Into New Activities

The idea of retirement invokes the idea of a personal withdrawal. From a lifestyle perspective, retirement is the final stage of our working careers, the time at which we are no longer required to directly participate in the economics of society. In The National Health Information Center's Younger Retirees Face Higher Death Rate [via Business of Life] we are reminded that the idea of retirement also carries with it a sense of decline and abandonment. That is, retirement not only declares the end of a career, but it also hints at the end of our life. At the same time, our society largely fails to question the benefit of an idea like retirement. As alluded to in Younger Retirees Face Higher Death Rate there is a challenging psychological component to the idea of retirement...

Posted in Work & Career | (Nov11/05) | Read/Comments (1) |

Teaching: Extinction Management

In Extinction Management - Quit Your Day Job 101 John Pederson has written a wonderful entry that describes his decision to quit his career as an educational technologist. His article is enhanced by the quick insight of Hugh McLeod at Gaping Void. Since I too left a career in education (Extinction-Management Date: 1997), John's entry is one that resonated with my own experience. There are many teachers out there that, for good reasons, question the fundamental value of educational technology (what is non-educational technology anyway?). However, for some challenging the education system leads directly to questioning what they want to do with their life. This is a basic pattern we can see in many work places, that is, we gain greater insight into the workplace we currently find ourselves in we begin to question our own purpose and identity in life...

Posted in Work & Career | (Jan 4/06) | Read/Comments (0) |

Workforce: The Cost of Living

I was exploring the Bank of Canada's Inflation Calculator and was struck by the phrase, "the cost of living." Here, the sense of the word cost refers to an amount of money required to buy a fixed basket of goods. For example, a basket of goods costing $100 in 1954 now costs $742.86 revealing a 4.09% rate of inflation. The percent change is 642.86% overall. This also means that a $100 investment in 1954 at a rate of return less than 4.09% would result in a negative real rate of return (the amount of your investment left after subtracting inflation). Yet there are other senses to the phrase cost of living...

Posted in Work & Career | (Oct26/04) | Read/Comments (0) |

Workforce: The Real Costs of Going to Work

In an email, Robert Paterson shared a wonderful story with me based on the real life experience of a friend. It ties into a previous entry here on EDN called The Cost of Living: Commuting to a Heart Attack in which I briefly explored financial terms such as cost of living, debt load, and inflation from the perspective of personal well being. Robert's story originates in a class he is teaching at UPEI Online and is not yet available on his weblog, so I asked his permission to post it here. It is an entry that will undoubtedly be referenced in my future writing [links in the story are my own]...

Posted in Work & Career | (Nov 2/04) | Read/Comments (0) |