Rethinking unemployment: Should we just accept what we see?

Photo by Jean-Louis Paulin on Unsplash

What will it take to survive the unemployment around us? Complaining about corruption hasn’t been helpful. Or has it? Hating the government hasn’t been helpful also. Mere talks about entrepreneurship, haven’t worked. If you look at statistics on unemployment, it’s very scary. That thing continues to increase rapidly. But is this our reality?

I think not. The problem is that many people have become complicit in perpetuating it. The moment we chose not to be strategic in our thinking about unemployment, was when we created more of it. If you were to ask a few people what they thought were the causes of unemployment, guess what you’re likely to hear? Many honestly believe it’s all up to the government(s). They’d rather hope in voting for some “messianic” candidate, who will save them.

Many do not yet realize that, somehow they’re agents of unemployment. Few people understand what is really causing anything, good or bad. This includes unemployment.

Richard Koch in The 80/20 Principle states that, “Nothing flows from one simple cause. Nothing is inevitable. Nothing is ever in equilibrium or unchangeable. No undesired state of affairs need endure. Nothing desirable need be unobtainable”.

But now, we should explore available options of escaping the rat race in the job market. We should figure out solutions. It has rightly been said that, only a few decisions really matter. Those that do, matter a great deal. Choice can always be exercised.

Yet, you need to hold your horses. Many books have been written that talk about how you can become your own boss. Books about unleashing your full potential. Those on how you can change your thinking and get rich. I have seen them.

Initiatives have mushroomed. Talk about pyramid or ponzi schemes. Talk about betting. But something is remarkable with all these ideas. I have, personally, seen a great many people who indulged in many of them, struggling more now than before. Curious enough, unemployment continues unchallenged. Clearly, there are some things that, at least, undermine them or render them obsolete.

Richard continues to note that we have been conditioned to think that high ambition must go with thrusting hyperactivity, long hours, ruthlessness, the sacrifice both of self and others to the cause, and extreme busyness. In short, the rat race. We pay dearly for this association of ideas. The combination is neither desirable nor necessary.

The evidence of this way of thinking is everywhere. Many emerging entrepreneurs know exactly what I’m talking about. Sometimes, sleepless nights have been their constant companion. Many job hunters have plunged into the job market simply because it seemed necessary. Many, even though, their previous mindsets, methods and marketing didn’t work, they unsystematically push against the wall.

To our relief, Richard posits that, a much more attractive, and at least equally attainable, combination is that of extreme ambition with confidence, relaxation and a civilized manner. This is the 80/20 ideal, but it rests on solid empirical foundations.

Most great achievements are made through a combination of steady application and sudden insight. Think of Archimedes in his bath or Newton sitting under a tree being struck by an apple. The immensely important insights thus generated would not have happened if Archimedes had not been thinking about displacement or Newton about gravity, but neither would have occurred if Archimedes had been chained to his desk or Newton frenetically directing teams of scientists.

Most of what any of us achieve in life, of any serious degree of value to ourselves and others, occurs in a very small proportion of our working lives…We have more than enough time. We demean ourselves, both by lack of ambition and by assuming that ambition is served by bustle and busyness. Achievement is driven by insight and selective action.

The still, small voice of calm has a bigger place in our lives than we acknowledge. Insight comes when we are feeling relaxed and good about ourselves. Insight requires time—and time, despite conventional wisdom, is there in abundance.

This demonstrates that our only hopeful escape remains in our having regulated ambition as it were. Ambition plus strategic planning will be foundational, if we’re to beat the system at its own game. We can’t escape without plans. Nevertheless, plans on their own will not be enough. Strategic executions of such plans will be a nonnegotiable.

Reading books and listening to podcasts are both okay. But, if knowledge gained is unapplied, nothing can be more stressful than that. Thinking you know, but struggling with those who don’t is, perhaps, the most unfortunate thing that has enslaved many people. Act on what you know. Unlearn a few things. Learn a few working strategies, and get a life.


Teboho Polanka
Teboho is a Social Worker, Writer and Inspirational Speaker. He is in pursuit of MSc. in Managerial Psychology. Graduates are able to apply psychological principles and methods to tackle challenges in the work environment and provide effective practical solutions. Acting as industrial-organizational psychologists.