by Jerz E. Brown
What does the end of the Industrial Age(s) mean for the average person?
There was a time long ago when our great-grandfather’s great-grandfather was there when they invented steam power! Back when people started going to town to work in buildings, rather than on farms. When conventions like an eight-hour workday and a paycheck were revolutionary concepts similar to SIRI (for iPhone) or 3-D Printing. I don’t want to complicate this article with esoteric terms; what I will do is tap all you Everyday People (by Arrested Development) on the shoulder and say Hello! (by Martin Solveig & Dragonette).
“We are hitting a new age in which social, technological, and global perspectives are changing everything.”
I think of my father getting up early, showering, and getting ready for work. And I am sure my grandfathers did the same. However, for many of my friends, comrades, and neighbors, this wasn’t always the case. As the standards of workplace competency and pressures from the political and social environment mounted, it ever so gradually became more challenging to get the cheese in this Rat Race (by Bob Marley).
Overall it has become apparent that there is a conceptual divide between the haves and the have-nots; and I’m not talking only about money. Today, as many thought leaders in the world suggest, we are hitting a new age. This discussion goes beyond the Industrial Revolution, and well into the Information Age, in which social, technological, and global perspectives are changing the way everybody and everything interacts.
Today lack of information is not the crux of the problem for The People (by Common). It’s overwhelming amounts of information, finding your way in the fog of data bits, instant messages, and marketing collateral, and in the talk of pivot points, getting rich, and making your dreams come true— especially at times like this. Many people take a negative, cynical perspective about all this.
I grew up thinking a job was a good and noble thing to have. But it seems like everyone I know is always between jobs, losing a job, or looking for one. The rest are stuck in a job that they don’t like now or end up not liking when their high school social charisma no longer keeps them on the bosses’ V.I.P. list. Others are creating their own jobs.
I believe one day all work and jobs will begin as voluntary positions (community, internships, non-profits) or situations where you pay for knowledge (schools, universities, coaches, mentors). Nobody will pay to train you or develop you unless you have shown results in some other organization. Many will look back and remember the days when you could get $8–$10 per hour as a cook. But the capitalist complex, always maximizing profits, will find a way to make this an independent contractor or voluntary position too. Only the very low paying or the very smart paying jobs will be left, and one day they will be gone too.
Finding a way to prosper and live a happy life has more to do with embracing change than rejecting it. We can react to the conditions with despair or respond with innovation. Those who contend for all people, for the environment, and for our future must unite, organize, and create. Building community, neighborhoods, and family through willing and selfless volunteering of your most valuable assets, your time and life energy will be a marker of what the future holds for you. The fundamentals of human life will always be the same. Don’t let the changes take you and yours under. Ride them like a wave!
Jerz E Brown is the pen name for Santiago Tito Rivera Jr., who has written for the Express-Times and has organized many programs, events, and people since he was a teen leader at the Easton Boys and Girls Club Future Stars Program. In 2006 he became the first elected Hip Hoppa in the State of Pennsylvania as a Democratic Chairperson in the 4th ward in the City of Reading. He has dedicated his life to the service of community and people.
(Published in the 2013 edition of Sustainable Lehigh Valley)
(Essays express the ideas of the individual authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the Alliance.)