Thursday, December 5, 2013

Is This Really A Resume? Time Use Possibilities

Admittedly this post has been a long time coming. There is a fanciful aspect to the idea of exchanging skills sets with others, which goes well beyond the usual constraints of institutional expectations. Some matchups would result in services product remembered for years to come. However, umm, we are talking about locally recorded activities here, by those who participate in the transactions! Much of what we purchase through the course of our lives also contains personal elements beyond actual production processes. However, technology can bring far more product into our lives, than the fixed scarcities we have available for lateral services time. Fortunately, we experience these realms quite differently, and their unique aspects are not hard to recognize.

When we designate a specific economic domain which captures and monitors skills sets instead of product separate from ourselves, everything changes. That is, our time use reverts back to front and center, and the social element no longer detracts from but instead becomes an active counterpart to production process. Just as money options are limited for random scarcities and their product formations, our time is a fixed scarcity in its own right. Therefore, even though our skill set resumes (on offer for the time of others) can certainly be playful, they still need to be full of meaning and purpose.

Think how daunting a resume may be, for anyone who has been out of work for a while. The life lessons we have learned may seem to no longer matter, or have any context outside ourselves. We even hear that the workplace has moved "beyond" our skills sets, so to speak. How true is that?  Only think about recent discussions re the high costs of stitches in hospitals (U.S.) for this really something that the rest of us couldn't figure out how to do, should the need arise? What about the multiple activities we continue to observe others performing in workplaces, which we hear are "no longer needed"? What is really going on here? If our resumes were actually intended for one another, instead of just institutions as service intermediaries, how might we approach them differently?

We have long since forgotten how to negotiate service product at the level of the individual, but there are good reasons why. For one thing, many kinds of services product which become important to us in recent decades, actually began in institutions. Even so, some important functions  - research in particular - existed long before it became formalized within institutional walls. What's more, some important research functions are not readily provided by our institutions, to the degree that governments once thought would actually be possible. To be sure, community support structures for skills sets will start at rather basic levels. Just the same, many community settings could eventually become important places for ongoing research, which is no longer possible in many institutional settings.

What we are doing here is separating - yet at the same time linking together - two different kinds of economic trajectories, so that both of them make more sense in their own right.  Not only would doing so be more efficient economically, but these areas would no longer struggle to cancel each out in ideological terms. We often want affordable (physical) products made as efficiently as possible through limited amounts of labor . But we also want the element of human time with one another, in a recognizable services form.

Resumes in this post are about the service products we hope to create over time, in that horizontal or lateral time trajectory. And the process of matching skills sets with one another - in many instances - will be quite unlike the skills sets we present to companies or institutions. For one thing, services would finally be freed up for multiple interpretations and variations, much as tradable goods were freed in the 20th century. Any community that reinterprets services markets would also seek to utilize high density skills use. Depending on the size of the area and skills pool potential, there would be some overlapping in the population. That is, many individuals would seek out skills adaptations with some of the same participants over time.

Local community resumes would mean shifting "baskets" of skills sets one could tap into, in any given time frame: depending on ongoing community projects, the needs of others, and one's own special challenges and aspirations. This form of resume would not just be the single page expression of recent work experience. Nor would our acceptance by others depend on highly specific skills roles. Fortunately, participants could remain connected to community life based on running accounts of ongoing economic activities, instead of being locked out by harsh and somewhat arbitrary judgments of today's credit checks, for instance.

Community size also matters: the smaller the town or local setting, the more dense and layered skills sets would become amongst participants. This is just another way of expressing what people once provided for one another quite naturally, and so in a sense there would be a return to full circle. However the societal gains could be extensive this time around, in that relatively informal methods could be combined with knowledge use gains especially from the 20th and early 21st centuries. A couple of post links today echoed the themes of cooperation and changes in emphasis for market focus, which would be inherent in local skills use strategies.

A rather basic structure of local coordination can lead to many diverse results over time, something which any local record of skills use participation would also reflect. Those who spend a significant amount of time in one place would often start to reflect that area's take on knowledge use in general. There would be local records wherever we were, in which not only our resume options and activity/dialogue logs exist, but also the logs kept by individuals who we utilize our time with. One of the first things found on such resumes might be current aspirations for skills challenges, for instance.

Such aspirations can be digitally updated whenever the local calendar gets set for a new season. Rather than single employers or employees, peers would seek out what might be thought of multiple "mini-employers", in the sense that a business owner sometimes refers to his customers.  We don't have to be great at whatever it is, if someone just wants to match time to discuss, validate ideas or otherwise mull over the present mutual challenges. A little time spent in dialogue prior to commitments, would be enough for both parties to discover whether it would be worth their while to match time use. The next post will touch on another aspect of this discussion - is this all even legal? Keeping things voluntary, and informal, definitely helps.

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