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31 August 2009
The credit crunch is presenting careers work with the biggest challenge to its creativity - ever. We need, more than ever, to appreciate the depth of twenty-first century uncertainty. And our clients and students need to find every inch of their capacity for flexibility.
> uncertainty - because some of the foundations of the labour market just got badly damaged;
> flexibility - because people need to be ready for anything.
It’s true that we already work with uncertainty and for flexibility. But we have it in us to do much more - to work with the depth of the impact and to enable the breadth of the response.
Habits-of-mind will be disturbed. Habitual thinking recites what has seemed to work for most people, most of the time, in most circumstances. Such regularities form the patterns of our understanding. One piece of such symmetry is the ‘matching’ model. It is part of our career-development expertise.
But uncertainty is a negation of regularity. The credit crunch is said to be the first economic crisis of the global economy. That economy is not well-regulated. And this will not be its last crisis. And, so, regularities that once worked for most people will not do so now.
The metaphor has changed. Enabling people to position themselves in a well-regulated race will not be help enough. People are going to need more time on figuring out the possibilities. Embarking people as travellers on a journey will help more. It is how they will learn to find unforeseen possibilities, to venture into unexplored paths, and to find routes that nobody ever thought might be there.
The global economy has been frighteningly creative in inventing the financial derivatives that caused this crunch. It needs to be reigned in. But the converse is also true: education is emerging from a period of severe over-regulation. It’s our turn to be creative.