Workforce participation and the passion for work

The advice of following a passion may translate to the idea of following a muse. Mike Rowe has a point in that this may be bad advice. We judge the advice to be bad advice when it doesn’t lead to success in life. As illustrated in the example of playing multi-player computer games, the advice to follow that kind of muse will not result in financial or career success. Some people may not see financial or career success as something that will give them happiness. If Aristotle is correct in defining ultimate good as happiness, career or financial success may get in the way. True happiness may be in the pursuit of the muses in obscure poverty. For those who measure happiness that way, then following the muses may be exactly the right advice. The right advice is to pursue happiness by following the muses even if that requires dropping out of the labor market.

Workforce participation decline: some are dodging conscripted labor

In modern times, the reality of the workplace is that the environment is constantly changing very quickly. Getting hired into a hot job one day can lead to returning to unemployment a few months later. Workers are adapting to the new reality of constant changing work. One of the adaptations is accepting the ideals of life-long learning and gaining new skills to be prepared for the next job that will be needed sooner than one may anticipate. It is reasonable to imagine another cultural shift to be more strategic about when to be employed. There is nothing to gain by staying on a dying job and there is little to gain by catching a job at the peak. The rational approach is to get out before the job dies its natural death and strive to get out in front on a wave that has not yet developed. A portion of the non-participating labor may be behaving like the water surfers swimming further out, ignoring the immediate waves, in order to catch a wave at its beginning so as to allow for the longest ride and then leaving the wave before it crashes ashore. Good surfers spend more time swimming than they do surfing.

Workforce participation in activity tracking: addressing frustrations with micromanagement

In order to be successful, a program of activity tracking of government employees would need their good-faith cooperation to capture useful data. This will require overcoming the natural objections to the micromanagement of their daily activities. I doubt this will ever be fully successful because people naturally resent being watched too closely (I know I would resent it), even in this case where it is justified to maintain social order by providing democratic insight into the independent bureaucratic processes that are not otherwise accountable to democratic participation.

Labor force participation: thoughts on hard to fill vacancies

Jazz bands come together through voluntary associations of individuals who recognize complementary capabilities. They then practice together to build up their skills and more importantly to build a tight team where everyone knows what everyone else is doing or is about to do. A jazz band is only hired after they have practiced to the point of being able to demonstrate they can do the job as a team. When hired, the band is hired as a all-or-nothing band. We don’t hire the drum player of a successful band to fill our drum-playing vacancy. Instead when we encounter a situation where the currently hired band lost their drum player, we replace entire with a completely different band that does have a drum player.

I imagine this approach can offer a solution to the problems of the modern job market. Instead of recruiting individuals, we should recruits bands or squads of individuals. The individuals have trained together and come in as a team. As soon as a team lacks any key player, the entire team is replaced with another team.

Labor Participation: What’s the Job?

This post is continuing my earlier contemplation of what may be behind lower labor force participation rates, using my perspective on the outside of the participation fence.   But as with recent notes, I’m drawing on personal anecdotes rather than pretending to have some broader insight. Today’s topic is the apparent disconnect between getting through…

Labor Participation Rate: What Job?

I’m taking my afternoon break from piano practice.  After all these years, I’m still struggling with simple exercises.  I admit to being a slow learner.  Lately I have been practicing without a teacher.  I’ve had teachers before so I know pretty much what they would say on my weekly progress so I can emulate their…