Motivational and inspirational writer, Bryan Hutchinson is the author of several books about life with ADHD including the highly acclaimed, best selling "One Boy′s Struggle: A Memoir" and the author of the hilarious eBook that went viral "10 Things I Hate about ADHD"

The Jobs Crises! The past: Factory Workers = Normal. Can’t work in a Factory = ADHD?

Getting a job straight out of college or high school where you can work in your area of interest for the majority of your life is no longer a reality for most people. People have to adapt to the jobs that are available, that those jobs likely will not last but a few years and then they are faced with looking for entirely different type of employment. My question in this post is: what disorders might be discovered for the educated jobless who are trained to work in an employment system that is transforming?
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We are in a labor transformational era!  I know we are trying our best to maintain an outdated education system that impresses upon students to stay in school, learn what and how we tell them to learn so they can get a good job, but civilization, like it did a hundred and fifty years ago with the industrial revolution, is indeed transforming. Kicking, screaming and no amount of ‘voting’ is going to stop it. It is a fact that will not revert no matter how hard we try to hold on to it. Even the recent very slight improvement in conventional employment numbers, with the lowest unemployment rate in 3 years, that is not a sign that things are going back to the way they were.
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How is the education system going to respond and adapt, and what are we going to tag people as who can’t adapt or change with the new way of working that is not just coming, but is already here?!
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This is about employment change that comes with technological improvements and civilization moving forward into a new era, but there are people who get left behind, those who are not “suited” to the new roles that will be thrust upon them. There’s still a little time to catch up, but time is quickly running out. Job creation is not the complete answer, adapting to change and reinventing one’s self is going to be the key for a lot of people.
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Let’s look at what led us here to the current system: Up until about a hundred and fifty years ago kids used to work or were apprenticed. Starting at a very young age, they learned their trade as they worked, created or assisted. Then the industrial revolution came along and factories became the main place to find work. But there was a problem finding work for adults because kids were working in those factories cheaply. The problem was not that kids were working, because kids had been working in one way or another since the dawn of humankind. The problem was that kids were taking away jobs from adults. So changes were needed.
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That’s what started child labor laws, which I believe is a very good thing, but it is also what started our current grade school system we have in place today. Kids were originally put in school to get them out of the factories and to teach them how to sit still, be quiet and take instructions so that later they would become good “Factory workers”. The kids who could not sit still and be quiet, the ones who would normally be out farming, hunting or some other job that required ‘activity’ received not only bad grades and punishment to compel them to comply, but they also received special tags: disorderly, rambunctious and uncontrollable etc. and ADHD (as we understand it today) started becoming more apparent. And although it seems like forever, it is still relatively new to the world for anyone to sit still, be quiet and take instruction. Human evolution doesn’t happen overnight, even if we purposely choose a new way of life.
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Today things are changing again. “Factory jobs” (jobs where people take instruction and do the same repetitive tasks over and over again) are no longer as needed or as widely available when kids get out of school and people are finding it necessary to think differently, do multiple things, be creative, think outside the ‘box’ and be extremely flexible with a very wide variety of capabilities. Basically, people now need to be jacks of many trades. In today’s world, being still, taking instruction and doing repetitive tasks isn’t as valuable as it was. But it is still extremely valuable in school!
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A major problem is that the standard education system still in place is setup for a system that is on its last legs and the majority of people are simply not trained for freelancing, going from job to job, or thinking on their own without constant instruction. Being educated in one field which was supposed to guarantee a steady job is no longer as reliable as it once was. Even if there are many jobs in a single field it is likely to be over-saturated and with years of valuable education under one’s belt the competition often comes in the area of ‘experience’, who can change fast and move with changes faster.
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Grade school is vital to the growth of civilization, but eventually it must transform with the ‘real world’ changes taking place.
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The dilemma is that the current economy is in chaos due to less ‘traditional’ jobs, high unemployment and outsourcing to cheaper and often less traditionally educated foreign labor. Big companies have much smaller work forces with much of the work being performed by computerized programs. Factories have been refined to the point they do not need as many workers to take instruction and do the same tasks over and over, which just by computer and engineering advancements alone means less jobs. Offices with cubicles are getting smaller and smaller; eventually most of them will be gone, too. However, the grade schools keep churning out workers for these types of jobs with little ‘know-how and experience’ to fall back on if those jobs are not available. People are taking jobs where they are lost, confused and not suited and then think there is something ‘wrong’ with them because they cannot adapt quickly or effectively enough.
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So, it looks like we need more educated ‘jacks of many trades’ and people who are able to quickly multi-task, be extremely flexible and focus on several things rather than just a task at hand or repetitive tasks. What type of people will best fill those types of jobs? And what will we call the people who have an inability to adapt to this new way of working? Will another disorder become more apparent? The computers are not going away, the internet will not go away and the dawn of a new age is here! Who’s ready for it? Has the current educational system prepared their graduates for it?
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What will be the new “Normal”? And will another disorder start to become more apparent as ADHD did with the previous industrial revolution?
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While writing this post I came across an interesting, very similar topic by Seth Godin, here’s a quote from it: .

If you do a job where someone tells you exactly what to do, they will find someone cheaper than you to do it. And yet our schools are churning out kids who are stuck looking for jobs where the boss tells them exactly what to do.
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Do you see the disconnect here? Every year, we churn out millions of workers who are trained to do 1925 labor.
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As we get ready for the 93rd year of universal public education, here’s the question every parent and taxpayer needs to wrestle with: Are we going to applaud, push or even permit our schools (including most of the private ones) to continue the safe but ultimately doomed strategy of churning out predictable, testable and mediocre factory-workers?

ADHD is a real disorder and causes a lot of difficulties for people trying to focus and do repetitive tasks. It’s not hard to see how the previous industrial transformation eventually made ADHD more visible and more of a problem. I don’t think it is a stretch to predict that this will happen again.
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History has a way of repeating itself, but never in history did technological changes occur this fast or as frequently as they are now. Who’s prepared for it?
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Of course, I could be all wrong and not understand a thing. In that case let’s just keep doing the same thing and hope for a different result.
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Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
~Albert Einstein

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