Tuesday, June 01, 2004

The Twenty-first Century Career (Geocities Rescue)

Younger Workers
Currently, younger workers begin their careers in high school doing menial labor for the minimum wage, often without regard to talent, unless they have parental connections, in which case their employment is still often without regard to talent. During this period, middle class youth get the best jobs and are supported partially or totally by their parents. Lower class and immigrant youth are forced into the worst jobs, perpetuating class divisions in society. Young women who get pregnant are encouraged to have an abortion, give their child up for adoption or go on welfare. Less than a century ago, pregnancy meant a wedding to the child’s father, who was able to find a job or was given or sold a farm to support his family. Perhaps it is time to learn from the past.

Young people between the ages of 16 and 20 on an academic track work in the home growing food for their families under the guidance of their parents. If their parents have paid for their homes and retired, they assist them in any home based business undertaken as a second career. Students attending a faith-based school work part of the time in the related institution’s social service activities, possibly assisting older retirees in growing their food in exchange for housing and a stipend or working in a medical, psychiatric or educational institution. Students also work in secular educational or social service agencies.

Young people on a non-academic track attend a vocational/technical institute under the sponsorship of their future employer and are paid by that employer, provided room and board and work a limited number of hours in their chosen trade. They also enter this track by joining a union as an apprentice.

Students in this age group who have less than a tenth grade level of literacy in the dominant language have as their primary duty the pursuit of their education and are provided tuition, room and board in a setting to facilitate this. No other work is required of them.

Young people with families are entitled to the child care tax credit through their employer or school, as described in the essay on structural reform of the tax code. At this age, young people marry if both individuals have the emotional maturity for that level of commitment. Whether parents or not, single or married, these individuals are treated like adults, including the right to vote and to serve in the military (if there is such a thing – see the essay on world peace). Treating young people with respect and providing them with opportunity has them make better choices, lessening promiscuity and drug abuse.

Students on the academic track earn given an associates degree when they have completed their educations. Students who advance to a skill level equal to the fourteenth grade level are allowed to graduate early, regardless of the number of credit hours accumulated. During this time they have sampled various disciplines and have some idea of their advanced educational needs, while others complete their general educations and enter the workforce. Students who wish to go on find an employer to sponsor their major course and graduate work. While pursing their educations they are provided room, board, a salary and practical work experience with the sponsoring employer. After graduation, they work for two years for every year of advanced education received. Workers who leave work or are terminated before their work requirement ends are responsible for repaying a portion of their tuition on a pro rata basis through a governmentally sponsored student loan.

Students seeking a legal education take accounting, politics and those courses that many individuals take privately to prepare for the LSAT test as the first year of a four-year legal curriculum. Students seeking a career teaching college receive courses in education, as well as the academic discipline that they profess. With other employers providing work upon graduation in other fields, universities best serve their own interests by limiting admissions for professorial candidates to the number of available positions at the other end.

Medical Education
The crisis in nursing is best remedied by changing how doctors are trained. Prior to attending medical school, students are required to earn a nursing credential and practice for two years as a Registered Nurse. This increases both the number of nurses and provides new doctors with an experience that they do not forget; changing forever the way nurses are treated. This training also provides the type of clinical experience that makes the long hours expected of medical residents less necessary. Students then attend medical school and complete their residency with much more practical knowledge and less of a need to work mind-numbing hours. As with other professions, students seek employment at the start of their training in nursing and are paid and housed throughout their early careers by the sponsoring health care system or hospital. At each stage of the training process, the wage rate is constant, from nursing school to the end of residency. Paying nurses and residents the same also increase camaraderie on the ward. Young doctors make less while in residency than they currently do, but they make more at the beginning and end their residencies debt free. Nurses who do not go on to advanced training in medicine begin to accumulate stock in their health system or hospital at an earlier age and are able to retire younger than their colleagues who continue in medicine. Those who do continue on into medicine are able to join a group practice, continue with the hospital or health system or work independently eight years after completing their medical degrees. Pay differentials in medicine decrease, as this system allows all who are capable to practice medicine at a just pay rate, increasing the number of doctors to what society needs. Under the laws of supply and demand, a plentiful supply of physicians lowers the price of medicine. However, doctors who provide innovative care, contributing to the state of the art in medicine, make more because of their innovation, whether inside or outside a sponsored system.

Mid-career Workers
After individuals have completed their service requirements (whatever their level of education), they continue on with the employing firm or find a position with a competitor. At this point they move out of company provided housing and purchase an environmentally efficient 21st century home, with or without food production facilities. Those who forgo growing their own food receive a higher salary, although their work day is correspondingly longer. Their employer, who may arrange for the building of the home, finances their home loan. At this stage, employees begin to accumulate stock in an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP). The loan maturity is timed to match the time when the ESOP shares provide enough of a return to pay in benefits what the worker makes as a salary, as well as additional accumulation of shares so that between dividends and share buy-back these shares last for the remainder of the individual’s and their spouse’s expected life span. This home is replaced with a larger dwelling as children are born, with adjustments for the state of upkeep and additional mortgage costs partially financed by the family size tax credit. When the family shrinks as children reach maturity, the home is replaced with a smaller dwelling, if so desired, with additional proceeds leading to a shorter work life as any profits are split between a decrease in the home loan debt and additional ESOP shares.

Worker salaries are fairly even, with payment for longevity reflected in a higher return on ESOP shares, some of which is taken in cash rather than reinvested. Workers also receive payments for innovation or sales that demonstrably increase the profitability of the firm. These payments are in both stock and cash to reflect both current and future higher earnings of the firm. On the other end of the performance spectrum, workers who do not do well are evaluated to determine the cause. If needed, employees are referred to employee assistance programs if drug or alcohol abuse or mental illness is the cause. Workers who require retraining are retrained, with a slight lengthening of the employment contract. If entire cohorts of employees are less productive because of the advance of technology, their home loans are forgiven and their retirement plans are made whole. Laying workers off as they near retirement eligibility as a cost avoidance measure is longer practiced by 21st Century employee-owned firms.

Retirement
After the mortgage is paid and adequate stock accumulated, the worker is eligible to retire. The stock benefit is approximately the same as the full salary. The worker can keep working at double salary, freelance in his profession, or teach younger workers. Even if the retiree does none of these, taking the food production option means continued activity growing food. When the individual is no longer able to farm, assistance is available through the firm or house of worship, which arranges for a young family to assist in the production of food and upkeep in exchange for housing and a stipend. When the retiree or spouse needs full time hospital care it is covered by the firm’s insurance plan. Retirees continue to vote their remaining shares in the ESOP, which need not be sold during their lifetimes. Their wisdom is useful in the deliberations of the firm. Spouses, however, sell back their shares upon the death of the retiree, in exchange for an annuity sponsored by either the company or the individual’s house of worship. Retirees and their spouses also purchase a negative mortgage from the company or their house of worship, so that the home then reverts to the firm or church upon their deaths. If a worker dies before retirement, the surviving spouse is made whole in terms of pension and mortgage forgiveness (provided there has been no foul play). Children do not expect to inherit a large estate. Instead, they inherit a system that provides them the opportunity to excel to the best of their ability and be rewarded for it.

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