The invention of retirement and myth of life-long employment are lies that we have accepted as fact, and until recently, have held mostly true.
Becoming Generation Flux: Why Traditional Career Planning is Dead: How to be Agile, Adapt to Ambiguity, and Develop Resilience by Miles Anthony Smith is an eye-opening business book. Just the title alone is a bit terrifying. However, it’s not too shocking given the employment issues the United States has been embroiled in for half a dozen years.
In this book, the author analyzes the changes in the job market and discusses ways for people to survive. He strongly believes that in order to endure and to thrive in this new market, people need to forget about the past, which involved going to college, finding a job, and staying at that job until they retired. Instead, Smith focuses on members of Generation Flux. He writes members are “not defined by age group but by their ability to adapt and remain flexible in the face of a tremendous onslaught of chaotic change.” This means that individuals will more than likely have to change jobs frequently and to pursue different types of income, including part-time work, selling crafts online, or writing books, just to name a few examples.
The book is divided into four parts:
Part 1: Lies, Damned Lies: Historical Context
Part 2: Stop the Education Madness!
Part 3: Embrace Becoming Generation Flux
Part 4: Hope in the Job Seeking Trenches
As you can see from the title of the book and the four parts, the author does not stray away from controversial topics. Some may not appreciate his section on education since he urges individuals to really consider all the pros and cons of seeking higher education. He doesn’t blatantly say, don’t go to college, but Smith does argue that acquiring a massive student loan debt is detrimental at such a young age. It should be noted that he backs up many of his beliefs with facts that will make many readers stop and think. They may not agree with everything he says, but it’s hard to ignore his viewpoint.
His inclusion of charts, tables, and statistics from all different types of sources is beneficial. He does rely on quotes to reinforce his statements and at times it’s a bit too much. Quotes are handy tools when used sparingly, but can be troublesome when overused or when they aren’t cited completely. There are only seven notes in the back of the book, even though there should be a lot more. Not all readers will double check a source, but having the option is critical. He does include a list of books that he recommends that is useful and enlightening.
The best aspect of this book is the fact that he writes in the first-person. He doesn’t come across as a stuffy academic who is spouting examples that he has never experienced firsthand. The author is part of Generation Flux and he is sharing his knowledge and advice from the trenches.
This book might irritate or frighten readers, but it will make people think. This is a scary time in history and Smith is bold enough to tell it like he sees it. There’s no denying the job market is evolving so do yourself a favor, consider reading this book. You don’t have to agree with everything, but it will behoove you to listen.