Job hunting in a poor economy can feel discouraging and isolating. Share or Die: Voices of the Get Lost Generation in the Age of Crisis, an anthology of modern young voices edited by Malcolm Harris and Neal Gorenflo, reminds us that we’re not alone.
More importantly, we’re stronger together.
Find Your Path Out of Economic Precarity
New college grads are trying to start down their career paths during a brutal recession. Many settle for jobs below their ability levels and struggle to pay back student loans.
In her essay “Unprepared: From Elite College to the Job Market” Sarah Idzik describes her difficult post-grad transition: “The word ‘job’ was precious enough; the word ‘career’ seemed outlandish, absurd, almost unseemly… we went from expecting greatness to expecting respectable work to hoping for something that paid.”
Despite the discouraging circumstances, there are people who have recognized that a time of crisis calls for a big dose of courage and ingenuity.
Share or Die contains the stories and ideas of brilliant young people navigating these challenges. According to Neal Gorenflo, co-founder of Shareable magazine and co-editor of this book, the stories can “help young adults gain perspective on their situation in today’s world and find paths out of economic precarity.”
Why Sharing is Do or Die
The takeaway of many of the stories is that, in a time of recession, learning to work together is essential.
In his foreword, Cory Doctorow explains the importance of connectedness in regards to navigating the recession: “Let’s look at what connectedness means for people whose economic fortunes are in decline, a generation facing joblessness and a crashing dollar… For that generation, connectedness is a way to coordinate, to work together to achieve goals, to substitute electronic connective tissue for wealth in the great race to get stuff done.”
In her article “The Gen Y Guide to Collaborative Consumption,” Beth Buczynski says “we’re discovering that stable, satisfying careers can be found outside the offices and factories around which our parents and grandparents built their lives. We’re acknowledging that the pursuit of bigger, better, and faster things have plunged our country into a time of despair and difficulty.”
Collaborative consumption or “the sharing economy” is a method of efficiently spreading around scarcer resources and it is dependent on connection and communication.
Since jobs are certainly a scarcity these days Buczynski provides an interesting section on entrepreneurship and work. She suggests using online resources such as Kickstarter for funding, Skillshare for extra income and affordable skills training, and sites such as coworking wiki, Loosecubes, and Liquidspace to find coworking space.
If You Can’t Find Work, Create Your Own
In the essay “Emergent by Design,” Venessa Miemis, founder of the popular website Emergent by Design, shares her experience of discovering her professional purpose. The end result is nontraditional and inspiring.
Using online resources accessible to everyone, Miemis has developed a flourishing brand. She started a website to share her ideas about collaboration and co-creation and a Twitter account to keep track of what others were saying.
Pretty soon she had a strong network of followers and peers. Of this experience she says, “This is how the new economy works, where trust can be built in a networked environment with peers around the planet.”
Many projects have followed and she says that she regularly uses Skype for meetings and conference calls and has received funding from Kickstarter. She says, “And now here I am…with a career that is emerging from a simple blog and the genuine desire to connect communities and amplify the work of change agents and mission-driven organizations.” Inspiring stuff.
Explore the Possibilities
If the innovative possibilities of connectedness sound exciting to you, explore this book. It’s loaded with content on the topic. In addition to creative career development you’ll find articles on how to start a worker co-op, lead a union strike, self-educate, deal with student loan debt, and navigate family life while developing a professional life.
A revolution is happening and it could greatly change how we live and work.
True to Shareable ideals, a free format of this book is available online at http://www.shareable.net/blog/share-this-book-the-free-version-of-share-or-die
You can find the printed version at amazon.com.
Check out shareable.net for even more connection and inspiration.