For a few generations, our society has subscribed to a fairly conventional pathway: get an education, to get a good job, to get a career, to get ahead in life.
But it seems increasingly apparent that this model no longer serves us.
The concept of the “career” has been a novelty of the 20th century — when job tenure was longer, job security was greater, career paths were more clear cut.
In the 21st century, things are very different.
Daniel Priestley refers to it as the age of the Heart. We want different things in life. We want connection, inspiration, freedom. Technology is advancing and facilitating that.
But as a result, we face new risks.
The Chief Economist of the Bank of England warns that Artificial intelligence could cause disruption “on a much greater scale” than anything felt in the previous industrial revolutions.
Aside from the issues that we are running full speed towards, even in current times we are experiencing significant personal financial crises.
In the UK, the average salary is currently £27,271. (Some industries are notoriously less well paid — retail assistants bring in an average £10,296, hairdressers and barbers £10,019, cleaners £7,919, waitresses £7,554 and bar staff £7,404.)
Increasing costs of living are causing staggering personal debt. The average UK household carries £58,776 in debt, and over the next four year that is set to rise to £84,412.
How has this happened?
Financial education was never really part of our formal education. I suspect that this is deliberate — our ignorance, or our complicity, is necessary in order to sustain the economy as we know it.
For the record, I’m not interested in the debate on how “the rich are getting richer”. I think that hides one important issue.