Last week, Seth Godin published an insightful post on the original purpose for universal public education--to create compliant workers. One key line stood out for me, one that is worth each of us thinking about long and hard:
If you do a job where someone tells you exactly what to do, they will find someone cheaper than you to do it.
That "cheaper" alternative may be a person or a machine, but it will not be you.
Think carefully about the work you do--what does it involve? If it is ruled by "policy and procedure manuals," includes extensive "performance supports", has you following a "decision tree," and/or requires multiple layers of permission to accomplish anything, sooner or later that job is going to disappear-or pay wages so low you can't possibly survive. The more bureaucratic and rule-bound the work, the more you are expected to "comply" rather than to create, the greater the danger for your career.
When you're trying on new identities, look for those experiences that ask not for your compliance or obedience, but for your creativity and ingenuity. Be wary of work that is circumscribed by policies and procedures and excessive rules. It's only a matter of time before you will need to find something else. Compliance has a cost and in this economy, you are the one who will pay the price.