The Standard Working Model sucks big time, and I’m gonna tell you why I think so… and hopefully avoid going into a rant.
The standard working model is a creation of the industrial revolution where farmers and rural people were convinced by powerful businessmen that moving from the land into a workforce community was a ticket to wealth and prosperity.
But it didn’t really work out too well for those people.
Today in so called developed countries, we have a more refined version, and certainly much better conditions, but there’s an inherent problem with it.
It creates robots from people. It encourages conformity and scripted behaviours that restrict growth. Even now in our “advanced societies” our education system is formulated to produce workers for our economy.
You’re Only A Number
Governments sell financial packages to high net worth investors and institutions based on the future productivity and money making capacity of its workforce.
Human beings have become commodities. In modern western civilisations we have become like fleas trapped in a jar, only there’s no lid on the jar and the fleas believe there is.
In other words we’ve got this wealth of infinite potential within us, but we are limited by the system that we are entered into. We believe ourselves to be limited and only capable of certain things.
We have an education system right from pre-school to university that trains our kids to be workers, not entrepreneurs. To be dependant, not independent.
Collectively we have created this system in which we all participate, support and perpetuate by virtue of the fact we do not consciously believe there is any worthy alternative.
In fact most of us don’t even possess the ability to see that an alternative system is even required in the first place!
The standard working model says;
Now children we’re going to teach you how to succeed in the big bad world. Learn this stuff we’ve got for you and everything will be ok. You’ll get a job when you’re older, make some money, raise a family and get your children to do the same and everything will be just great…
Yes I am being a little facetious, but can you blame me?
The truth is that the system is broken and it’s been so for a long time. The ones who have come before us have sold this system as the only way to achieve a stable society, and it has a fundamental flaw at it’s core.
It takes into account the middle ground, the majority who will actually fit in and make it “work” for them. It’s my contention that most of the people who make the system work end up largely disillusioned later in life.
The Ones Who Do Not Fit In
This system is not one person’s idea, nor is it a conspiracy held in place by the few wealthy invisible and silent dictators as some headbangers will ask you to believe.
It’s a societal system held in place by the sum of the parts involved. We are all complicit, every one of us is a piece in the puzzle. Most of us just go along with it.
The standard working model works for most, for a time. But there is a more pressing issue and it is the one that concerns our children, the ones who don’t fit the mold.
If we don’t change the way we’ve always done things then we will get the results we’ve always got. Bringing up our children to treat life and work the same as we have steals their chance to develop naturally along their strongest lines.
Here’s an example;
The system determines the child’s value by a standard set of criteria, and when the child doesn’t stack up, the system says they have a problem. They are moved out of their classroom to get “special” attention for their “deficiency”.
good move you might say… well not really.
All the other kids know that there is something up. Now these kids begin to develop the idea that there is something wrong with them, that they are different in the worst kind of way.
Every other kid knows that only the dopes go to the special class, and the children who have to go there know it too.
I feel it’s a real shame that now as I am 41 years old, that the school system has not really changed that much for the better from the time I was a kid.
It’s still woefully inadequate at tending to the varying needs, skills and talents in our children, and therefore incapable of creating a truly stable and nurturing environment where all kids can flourish.
Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid – Unknown
Instead of having a system that nurtures children’s’ strengths, we have a system that forces kids into the same learning structures. It makes them wear the same clothes, separates them based on sex or ability to complete tasks they have no aptitude for.
Or worse, the kids remove themselves from the school system completely believing they are useless. Thousands of kids fall through the cracks every year and never recover.
The Industrial Revolution Model of Education
Fortunately for me I occupied the middle ground when it came to academic studies. I was handy enough in school so I was able to do alright.
I’d notice the kids who were shipped out on a daily basis to “Mr Malone’s Class” and remember thinking… I’m glad that’s not me.
Ironically, despite how the system treats our kids who don’t fit this industrial revolution education model, they actually have a distinct advantage.
By virtue of occupying the perimeter, the system doesn’t offer these kids much, so they are actually in a better position to pursue what they actually love to do.
One of two things can happen a kid as they grow up on the outskirts of current industrial revolution style education system.
- They may develop an inferiority complex get a crappy job and never truly reach their potential. Or at worst they end up in the prison system.
- Others may develop a fuck-you attitude and go hell for leather after their dreams despite their negative experience.
If the kid is strong enough mentally then maybe they can succeed. The right mentors are needed along the way to guide them but at least they will have a better chance of being successful than some of the less fortunate.
The Seven Levels of Intelligence
Howard Earl Gardner’s 1943 work “Frames of Mind – The theory of multiple intelligences“ questions the established (and completely bullshit) idea that intelligence is a singular, and that it can be measured using IQ tests.
Howard Gardner initially formulated a list of seven intelligences. But only the first two on the list below are typically valued in modern education systems.
3, 4 and 5 are usually associated with the genius of the arts. 6 and 7 are what Howard Gardner called ‘personal intelligences’ which have since been grouped as Emotional Intelligence (EQ). They are often linked to high level success in business and careers.
If schools only value and grade students by 2 of the possible 7 intelligences, then they effectively regard children who happen to be most effective at the other levels as stupid.
Asking a child who has a primarily developed auditory (musical) intelligence to complete mathematical and linguistic competence tests and then judge their overall intelligence from the results, says more about the intelligence of the judicators than the child.
Here are Howard Gardner’s initial multiple intelligences:
- Linguistic – Spoken and written language skills and capabilities.
- Logical-mathematical – Capacity to analyse problems logically and carry out mathematical analysis.
- Musical – Skills in the performance, composition, and appreciation of musical patterns.
- Bodily-kinesthetic – Potential of using one’s whole body or parts of the body to solve problems.
- Spatial – Potential to recognise and use the patterns of wide space and more confined areas.
- Interpersonal – The capacity to understand the intentions, motivations and desires of other people.
- Intrapersonal – The capacity to understand oneself, to appreciate one’s feelings, fears and motivations.
Why aren’t our education systems built on these long established understandings of how children learn? Maybe someone out there can explain this to me…
How To Break Out Of The Standard Working Model Mindset
The answer is a simple one, but it’s not easy.
Follow your heart.
This must be the first step. And you need to be brave too because it can be a scary time, but if you want to realise what’s calling you then you need to step over the edge.
There’s only one way to eat an elephant, and that’s one fork full at a time. Start today, even if it’s at a small level, begin, make a change, a move towards what you want.
What your particular steps are will be dependant on your specific situation. But the very first one you absolutely must take is a psychological one.
Make a commitment to yourself – feel the fear and do it anyway.
Always Be Moving
The good part of all this is that you can cultivate the willingness in yourself by taking your time. But be careful not to stagnate and use fear as an excuse not to make progress.
You’ve got to learn the feeling difference between fear, and when it’s simply not the right time. Move when you’re not ready and splat!
Don’t move at all, then splat too. Although, when you don’t move at all, your idea is more likely to grow mould than go splat!
I’m an optimist, the glass is always half full, even in the face of apparent disaster. I’m not discouraged for long so I’ll always manage to get a benefit from a poxy circumstance.
That’s why I’ll always maintain you do something no matter how small. Keep moving, because when you move you move forward. There’s no such thing as going backwards.
Every movement is a discovery. You either find out what works or what doesn’t work, either way you win.
Certainly pause if you need to when things get hectic and manic, this is what I mean by waiting until you’re ready. But don’t sit on your hands, so-to-speak.
It’s a fine balance but one you can find with practice.
Also published on Medium.