Job Perspective: Is Your Career Sustainable?

An Unprecedented Dilemma

The socioeconomic structure is collapsing around us as the meaning of “finite resources” becomes all too clear to our ambitious yet fatally flawed species. In a world where 1% of the population owns the majority of the global wealth and they’re not sharing, the notion of “Why should I bother?” becomes a daily mantra among those new graduates in the throes of beginning a new career or switching to one more suited to four-plus years of studies. The obstacles seem insurmountable: poverty, famine, disease, war, disaster, and perhaps most damaging, ignorance. Settling for what is available and falling in line with the rest of the lemmings marching along behind the upper percentile becomes a comfortable option, armed against the trifecta of poverty, famine, and disease with a minimum wage paycheck and partial health benefits until the last tree falls.

Luckily, it doesn’t have to be quite so bleak.

The Advantages of Knowledge

Our species is rapidly approaching an age in which instantaneous knowledge is the norm. As the quest for an understanding of our universe progresses, so too does our speed in recognizing reality and sharing this information with others. To use a well-polished example, the earth is not flat, despite popular opinion until the 17th century. Governments facing trillion dollar deficits bring to light a similar understanding today about money: we made it all up, despite popular opinion that it is the most valuable of resources and increasing its availability will fix all known problems. The contentious observer of the (round) earth can realize now that the true natural resources are rapidly disappearing in the name of this imagined concept, and all of the money we can print will not buy us a new earth; however, our speed in spreading this information and changing the priorities of the globe is faster than this depletion. A text, a tweet, a status update later, and several hundred people become aware.

Where does this leave the newly grad career hunter? Hopefully, in a state of instantaneous enlightenment, recognizing that the highest paying job is unrelated to personal fulfillment and the very livelihood of the earth itself. Simply put, you can’t eat money when the food runs out. In choosing a career in these unprecedented times, one has to consider the longevity of his or her desired field. Will we need automotive technicians when we’ve run out of oil? How about entertainers, athletes, or anything related to television and movies when nuclear power plants fail and available electricity is routed to more important needs? Should we not be concentrating our efforts on creating a sustainable earth that we can all share and pass down to our future generations? How much money per hour is going to make a difference in twenty years as the earth’s water supplies diminishes?

Keeping it in Perspective

Looking at the broad picture and making use of the instantaneous spread of knowledge while it’s still available is key to selecting a career that is going to last through these mind-boggling struggles we face as a species. The call for medical professionals, engineers, scientists, farmers, and other fields relevant to the revitalization of our interactions with the earth will undoubtedly increase as we strive globally to undo our damage and move forward. It starts now, with this generation of freshly educated faces searching for a door into the world, years of life on this planet still to come and the ability to impact change with the spread of knowledge and positive thinking; to have a realistic model of the world in mind is the only method of understanding the role of the individual therein.

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