Saturday, March 26, 2011

Best education for today's job market might be physical education

So many jobs require one to stand on one's feet all day. Good muscle tone and ankles are required of many sales clerks, janitors and even nurses who are on their feet a lot. PE may be the most important part of an education for today's jobs, but not the old style of competitive PE. Not the football team, but lifelong fitness. Things like aerobics instead. Toning and healthy lifestyles.

Another friend of mine has just applied for disability (SSI) even though he isn't that old. He's overweight and not in great shape, but also the job market doesn't offer much of a match for his skills. He's an academic, like a lot of people. Versed in history, media and culture. More or less of a generalist. Has worked in web based media, but how many jobs are there in media these days? Late 1990s was sort of a boom time for web art and culture, but these days, it seems like most of the jobs are in things like cleaning, painting, sales clerks and so forth. There is a lot of volunteer positions and my friend volunteers, but little budgets to pay for those tasks. He teaches some classes and does some tutoring part time. If he could stand comfortably on his feet for 8 hours, he could work as a sales clerk, but that seems out of the question.

Our economy is still creating a lot of low wage jobs; like custodian for instance. One can do those jobs with style, but it takes different kind of training than many folks aspire to. Learning how to maintain one's health and get through the shift with energy left over for a life outside of work can be a valuable skill. Also learning how to live on the cheap and maintain self esteem would come in handy. Where does one find social life and how to live a quality life in the community are needed skills.

Education tends to stress the need for more high tech or high end job market skills, while so many of the actual jobs are low end. There's nothing wrong with high tech. It's just that everyone isn't destined to do it.

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