Daily Opinion: Are Modular Jobs a Possibility?

Photo Credit: Cabinet Office
Photo Credit: Cabinet Office

So I’ve been doing some thinking.

Don’t worry, I didn’t hurt myself.

I’ve been mulling about the knowledge that I have and the jobs I’ve done throughout my life. I’ve also been thinking about the knowledge I have that doesn’t get applied at all during work. Now I have a proposal in mind.

Like to hear it? Here it go.

At my last and current job, I have a wide number of applications I need to be able to support. I also must possess knowledge about a number of platforms and apply said knowledge to my job. Then I get paid for applying some of that knowledge. Here’s the thing: I can’t be an expert at everything. Even if I become well versed in many areas, there will always be obscure tasks and information that I won’t know as well. Hell, I just encountered something yesterday that I haven’t dealt with in five months. It happens to the best of us.

What if I was paid per responsibility? What if we all were? I have a few goals with this proposal:

  1. ALL people must have a minimum income.
  2. ALL people must have a job.
  3. Businesses must distribute money more evenly.

Okay, let’s take the United States, for example. Minimum wage sucks so let’s throw that out the window. How about everyone in the US earns a salary of $30K a year regardless of the job they have? Sound better? Great. Now, everyone’s base job should be VERY specific. For example, instead of me supporting eight different applications, I’d be responsible for answering client-facing questions about Exchange or writing advanced SQL queries.That’s it. Additional responsibilities would stack on to and increment one’s salary by some pre-determined amount. So if each additional responsibility adds, say $2500, just four brings me to $40K a year.

But Andre, I’m a Debbie Downer and I’m determined to prove this can’t work. Humph!

Go ahead! I’m not saying I have all the answers, but couldn’t an idea like this be refined? Maybe even with teamwork rather than naysaying?

Regardless, here are some closing thoughts:

  • Like I said, this system isn’t working if a baseline isn’t established for EVERYONE. This minimum salary must cover basic needs with some wiggle room for regular spending or saving. Otherwise, y’know, people end up supporting our economy with money that doesn’t actually exist. *cough*credit*cough*
  • Oh yeah, I forgot. FREE EDUCATION.
  • Responsibilities should be trained and people acquire certifications for each responsibility. Subject matter experts are paid to keep all documentation and knowledge current and up to date so certifications need updating as years pass.
  • Obviously some jobs require more skill than others. Some jobs are also much higher in demand. There should be a salary “bonus” as a motivator for people who work these types of jobs. Several factors should be taken into account to calculate this bonus: the number of required positions versus the current positions filled, the population of available candidate, average number of assumed responsibilities, etc. Additionally, all current people who already fill that role are eligible for the bonus, but all people should understand the bonus fluctuates as demand drops for certain skills/responsibilities.
  • In addition to certifications for skills, all workers are evaluated regularly for performance and aptitude. This way, if they are not a fit for the job/responsibility, they can be pushed in a different direction that better suits them rather than simple termination.

Maybe this is dreamland. Or maybe it isn’t. I think if we actually came together and discussed this, a system like this could work. The aspects I care about most is the ability to ensure all people meet some standard of living and a more even playing field. If everyone is so infatuated with money, how about we create a system where things are a but more fair.

No? Doesn’t sound worth it? Then please openly admit you’re fine with starvation and poverty. I mean, I know that sounds harsh, but capitalism (the way we use it) does nothing to solve those issues.

Anywho, I’m totally open to suggestions, alternate solutions, or just plain debate. Let me know what you think! This isn’t a perfect solution, but I think it’s one that is a viable alternative to just throwing this whole stupid system in the garbage where it belongs. With some tweaking and actual analysis, who knows what this could become? We’ll never know if we don’t talk about it.

Peace out, party people.

Previously: ISIS Brings Humanity to a Crossroads

Essay: We’re All Just Dumb Monkeys

metal monkey statue NY

Human beings are stupid.

Shock and awe, amirite?

Let’s take a few steps back. The other day, I was watching the season premiere of Brain Games (an awesome show you should definitely check out). One thing that stood out to me was an experiment that was conducted on two monkeys. The first monkey was given a task: a researcher hands the monkey a rock, the monkey hands it back, and gets a piece of a cucumber as a reward. There’s another monkey in the cage next to him who’s given the same task, but instead is given a grape as a reward. Everything was good in the hood until that first monkey noticed something was afoot.

Oh you’re just going to give him grapes while I’m just given these wack ass cucumbers?

Well, that first monkey was none to pleased. While he was fine with them initially, he soon began refusing the cucumbers for doing the task. And I mean refused. Homeboy threw it back at the researcher, banged the rock against cage, and even tried reaching for the grapes through the cage.

Anger? Violence? Attempted theft? All just because something is unfair? If you’re good at connecting the dots, you can easily see how this is reflected in our society today.

Here’s another fun fact: We trust those that are genetically closest to us faster than those who are not. This is tied to survival for primates (other creatures too, but let’s stay on topic) and is tribalism at its very essence. This is why family members are (usually) seen as those closest to a person, especially the nuclear family. It’s likely the reason why if someone loses trust in a family member at an early age for whatever reason, they have a very difficult time trusting others overall. Most importantly, though potentially least valid because this is just my opinion, I think this is the basis for discrimination and mistrust at any level. Not the cultural kind we experience today, mind you. I’m talking about the mere existence of them.

It’s a leap, but not an unwarranted one.

Did you know that hunger increases the likelihood of a “fight” reaction during fight or flight responses?

Did you know stress hinders short term memory

Did you know people mirror the behaviors of others for reasons like wanting to be accepted or general kinship?

Did you know our brains constantly creates false leaders for all type of activities so it can be a follower? Even simple ones like walking at a certain speed or standing in a line.

I think most human beings don’t have a fundamental understanding of themselves and why they are the way they are. This hits us at a personal level, as well as society at large. I’m purposely emphasizing the word “understanding.” You can know all the facts you want, but understanding is another story entirely.

Do you understand why we have religion?

Do you understand  why we separate ourselves into races?

Do you understand why human beings have conflict?

Of course there are individual reasons as to why these things happen, but that’s not what I’m asking. Do you understand why these things exist? Do you understand why your brain and body act the way they do? Have you connected the dots? No? Well, congratulations; you’re officially a dumb monkey.

A dumb monkey with potential, at least.

Don’t feel bad; I’m a dumb monkey too. Ooh ooh, aah aah, and all that good stuff.

The only thing that changed with me is I can openly admit I don’t know anything. However, I’m understanding more about life each day. I look at humanity and I’m starting to grasp how we got to this point and why we have the problems we have. We’re too busy being dumb monkeys who think they know more than they actually do. I mean, sure, we invented a slew of cool things like the internet, space shuttles, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles…

Except that 2014 movie. Much like 9/11, we’ll never forget.

*cough*

Awkward.

…but we can’t seem to move beyond our biological makeup. Realistically, humans have never actually figured out peace no matter how many wars we have. We can’t stop being violent. We still hate. We still discriminate. Not all of us, mind you, and certainly not all to the same degree. But it’s out there.

On the flip side, we have absolutely beautiful things that are bred from the same DNA that willed racism into the world. We have love, happiness, creativity, and more. These are all awesome things, but much like our more unseemly qualities, these are also not constants and everyone experiences these to different degrees. This is all part of being human.  What makes us dumb monkeys is that most of us don’t realize we don’t have to be dumb monkeys.

Whatchoo talkin’ bout, Willis?

The real thing that makes humans special is we have a choice to either follow our DNA or follow that thing in us that makes us more than dumb monkeys – a soul, a conscience, or whatever inadequate word you want to use for the thing that regulates our animalistic urges. People aren’t wantonly discriminating against people who aren’t genetically closest to them. There isn’t true survival of the fittest anymore. We aren’t all getting riled up just because “the man” feeds us cucumbers instead of grapes. However – and this is just my opinion – these things still exist in our DNA. But because our circumstances are different now than they were when we first evolved into homo sapiens, they manifest themselves differently.

Grapes become money.

Genetic proximity becomes racism and nationalism.

Ooh ooh, aah aah?

We apply the modern world to archaic hardware (our DNA) and this is what happens: humans self-throttle their advancement and we play the game of being dumb monkeys. Our software (our minds) have all the potential in the world, but our hardware (DNA) sucks. Imagine running Windows 8 on a computer from 1999. If that was even possible, you’d have to at least turn the display settings down and limit the number of concurrently running programs. It’d be a straight up nightmare.

Imagine all the low definition porn everyone would be watching!

Unlike computers, however, we can operate past beyond hardware. We don’t have to be slaves to our DNA, but I feel it’s not innate in all of use. Some, maybe many of us require a level of understanding to realize all discrimination is the same. Poverty is not a necessity. Freedom is not a privilege. Everyone in this world is just as (un)important as you. You don’t have to be a dumb monkey. You can choose to embrace parts of your humanity, not all of it.

I believe humanity will reach that potential one day. There are a good number of people that already have; the problem is the glut of folk who are straggling behind. Well, it’s not really a problem, right? Maybe we wouldn’t be human anymore if none of us clung to our DNA. Maybe we’d be something entirely different. I mean, can you even imagine a world without conflict? Can you imagine a world without hate? What would love be? What would peace be? Would those words exist?

Perhaps that’s the sacrifice of being human. Maybe negativity is the trade-off for all the positivity we experience. Maybe, the people who show the worst of humanity also involuntarily shine a light on the best of humanity. Maybe there will always be this battle of our physical (dumb monkey) and, for lack of a better word, non-physical (human) selves. Maybe all of our conflicts are a product of an evolution that is no longer taking place at a purely physical level. Maybe we’re done evolving as individuals and we’re now evolving as a collective. Maybe, just maybe, there’s nothing wrong with humanity and we’re all just doing what we’re meant to do, consequences be damned.

But then again, what do I know? I’m just a dumb monkey.

Previously: The Day I Admitted My Feelings for God

Daily Opinion: ISIS Brings Humanity to a Crossroads

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As you’re probably aware, France experienced a sobering tragedy when Islamist extremists killed 12 people at Charlie Heebo, a satirical magazine that’s had confrontations with Islamists in the pasts for their depictions of the Prophet Mohammed. Obviously this is a major deal in and of itself, but what I think is more significant is how humanity moves going forward. Given our collective pasts, I’m not so sure this will end in a positive place. At least not immediately.

Wherever there is a belief or an opinion, you will find extremists. They are the ones with the loudest voices and take the strongest actions. Hence the term “extremist.”

Duh.

The problem is people routinely apply the actions of a few to the whole because it’s easier than judging individuals, which is weird because we all want to be seen as individuals, but some don’t always reciprocate that desire. Right now, we’re at a place where Muslims may be viewed negatively based on this recent event. It’s the same way Americans are often viewed as jerks based on the actions of our government and military. The difference in this instance is we’re not talking about people with a powerhouse of a nation behind them; we’re dealing with a religious belief, which is polarizing in and of itself.

So what’s the next move, humanity? Are we going to start acting like all Islamists are gun-toting avengers? Are we going to fight back? Are we going to cower in fear, never embracing satire again? I personally don’t know, but I do know this: the majority of us are not extremists. Most of us are regular folks just trying to live our lives. This segment of the population, as large as it is, isn’t the one that will take action and stand up against BS like this. We’ll be the ones reading about it in the papers and internet. Unfortunately, that approach is what works in favor of those willing to go the extra mile.

How about the majority of us just say, “enough of this crap” regardless of belief system, race, nationality, gender, sexuality, etc.? Haven’t we had enough?

Haven’t YOU had enough?

Peace out, party people.

Previously: Florida Is the Worst State Ever

Daily Opinion: Florida Is the Worst State Ever

Florida gun tattoo

Florida, what’s going on?  I just read some dude called a deputy to supervise while he spanked his daughter. That alone is weird, but apparently this isn’t even uncommon. One sheriff said he participated in this wackiness twelve times.

Twelve.

Times.

Oh, that isn’t the worst of it, Florida. A few of your counties ended courthouse weddings because they weren’t cool with performing ceremonies for homosexual couples. You cited a priest for feeding homeless people. The mayor of Gainesville is a drunk driver. The former mayor of Hampton (apparently the most corrupt town in your state) was arrested for selling drugs. Houses and people fall into sinkholes. THE FORMER F**KING PRESIDENT OF MOTHERS AGAINST DRUNK DRIVING WAS ARRESTED FOR A DUI!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And oh yeah, hurricanes, crazy crimes, Flo Rida, and Carrot-Top.

Dude… I think it’s time we either have an intervention or castrate your admittedly phallic-looking state from the rest of the country. I’m perfectly fine with 49 states if one of them can’t get their act together. I mean, there are quite literally too many reasons as to why you suck for me to list. I’m not even joking. I did research for this post and somehow discovered a new emotion that is equal parts disgusted and depressed.

I call this emotion “Miami.”

Peace out, party people.

Previously: Social Media Is Silly for Hating on Madonna

Daily Opinion: Social Media Is Silly for Hating on Madonna

madonna hairy

Wait, Madonna caused controversy? Are we in the 1980’s?

#throwbackthursday

So if you didn’t know, the interwebz got their collective panties in a bunch when Madonna altered images of Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King, and Bob Marley to match he upcoming album. Each of the pictures were updated to have a black cord wrapped around the faces of each of these icons. Of course, America is known for over-correction and people became upset. Reactions ranged from people crying “racism” to others saying it’s wrong to use their images to sell albums.

But…

She did the same thing with Marilyn Monroe, Frida Khalo, and even Jesus. For some reason, not a peep was heard from social media.

Smell that? It’s a double standard.

As a guy who many people identify as Black (though I think I’m going to stop using colors to refer to people as it’s pretty antiquated, don’t you think?), I really don’t see why some pictures are a problem and others aren’t. I get it; some of us are riding that politically correct bus until the wheels fall off. Good for them. But even the best intentions can be misguided. I mean, it’s Madonna. Pretentious as she may be, I don’t think there was any malice or evil villain-style hand wringing prior to the release of these photos.

You know, incidents like this have brought me to a couple conclusions:

  1. Collectively, people are not naturally good at processing a possible other point of view. Sure, I’m basing this on limited information, but I’m waiting to be proven wrong. This is a skill that needs to be developed and some folks are more adept at it than others. The downside is, actions often get painted as right or wrong in a person’s mind, but things are rarely that simple. Perhaps this is just cultural.
  2. The righteousness of social media is dubious at best. Social media always seems to have an ample number of opinions, but how many of them actually hold any weight? I have opinions too, but do they even matter as long as I’m not hurting anyone? What really matters are the actions we take. Therefore, social media’s opinions are nothing to me. If anyone’s opinions only motivate them to post something about it online from the safety of their home, I’m taking it with a grain of salt. I’m also fully aware of how this sounds in a post titled “Daily Opinion.” The thing is, I know my opinion is meaningless.

Whatever. I’m going to go out on a limb here and just say everyone needs to relax and pick their battles. There are much bigger and more powerful people who are doing more bigoted and self-serving things. Madonna is just an easier and more accessible target. I guess some people will settle for shooting fish in a barrel instead of going out to capture that white whale.

Peace out, party people.

Previously: It’s Okay to Let Friendships Run Their Course

Daily Opinion: It’s Okay to Let Friendships Run Their Course

Friends

Man, it’s been a while since I wrote one of these. Let’s talk about something unrelated to global current events.

Over the last few years, I changed in some very significant ways. Many parts of me are largely unchanged, but I have a very different idea of life and my place in it than I had in, say, 2010. As such, there are people in my life who have stayed with me through these various changes, and they realize my distance isn’t me cutting them off, but rather I am just extremely focused at the moment. They know me. They trust me. I’m the same with them.

Buuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuut……

Then I have some friends that seem to have a static idea of me. They still treat me like that super nice guy from back in the day who just needed a healthy dose of self-confidence. The same guy who would drop anything to hang out because he was just that kind of guy. That guy who had very clearly defined thoughts on life and didn’t get into crazy, abstract ideas that aren’t always easily relatable.

Most of my friends fall somewhere in between these two ends of the spectrum. For the most part, it all works out. I’m sure there are people who are wondering why I’m MIA, but I hope they can understand I’m literally starting over to build my life. It’s nothing personal; we’re still friends. I hope to catch up to you all once I can relax more.

Howeveeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeer……..

I know a couple people who are super negative about where I’m going in my life and how I’m doing things. Despite the fact I’m happy. Despite the fact I’m not doing anything to hurt myself or others.

Well, that’s fair; everyone is entitled to their opinion. That said, if someone’s negativity has an impact on our relationship and interactions, I don’t see a reason to be friends. Not that we can’t be cool again, but at a certain point, I don’t see the point of being friends with someone when you fundamentally have a problem with who they are as a person. In my situation, these people are (seemingly) upset with the new Andre because he’s too much of a departure from the old Andre.

Why’s he marrying a non-US citizen he only met a year ago?

What’s all this meditation crap he’s talking about?

Energy? He must be on drugs.

Ugh.

Then fine, we don’t have to be friends. I’m not angry or upset. The length of time we’ve known each other shouldn’t be a factor either. If we’re walking on two divergent paths, let’s just split. There’s nothing stopping us from converging again. I don’t have a wall up. Friendships dying isn’t a bad thing. Much like life, why does anyone assume death is some type of finale? None of us know ANYTHING past the present moment.

We can predict.

We have statistics.

We’re still just gambling, pretending certainty exists more than it actually does.

Maybe we’ll rekindle our friendship. Maybe we won’t. Either way, thank you for being an important part of my life. I, quite literally, wouldn’t be the person I am without you. However, I found my path. I wish you luck on yours, as well. Maybe we can meet up again sometime and laugh about how stupid it was that we let a silly thing like expectations affect a friendship. Until then…

Peace out, party people.

Previously: Let’s Stop Being A**holes and Start Embracing 3D Printing

How to Change the World for the Better: Demolishing Pseudo-Kingdoms

iron throne

I love Game of Thrones. If you don’t, I forgive you for your awful taste in television.

Actually, it’s not television. It’s HBO.

Ugh, I can’t believe I just did that.

Anyway, I couldn’t imagine living in the world of Game of Thrones. I mean, forget about the dragons and white walkers; people seem to be the biggest threat on that show. They wantonly kill in the pursuit of money and power.

Segue!

If you look at history with a set of objective eyes, humanity has been dealing with “kings/queens” at various levels. Sure, it’s not everyone, but the idea of a ruler is one that even happens within families. My dad has his own Iron Throne.

Or leather sofa.

Whatever.

Here’s the thing: while much of the world has moved away from monarchies, do most people really have their fair share of power or are most of us still grasping for scraps. And don’t get me wrong, some people have access to better scraps than others. Hell, some of us may be able to sneak some goodies from the cupboard. Unfortunately, much of that is just a result of a dice roll. You were lucky enough to be born to one family versus another.

Still, can’t you see this structure at numerous levels? Many countries, states, corporations, and so on have this similar structure of power and wealth of a few and the remains trickle down. Some structures are steeper than others, but the fact is very few are level (or at least very close to being level). This means there will ALWAYS be some level of discourse in our world if these structures remain. This fact cannot be debated. Sure, we can argue all day about what’s fair and what isn’t, but an imbalance of power and wealth (let’s throw freedom in there as well) will always bring conflict. I cannot overstate this enough.

Fixing this is a tougher issue, but I feel we simply need one country or institution to be the example. Preferably one with a large voice or reach. Why? Because we will only assume one path works if another isn’t shown as equally or more successful (we also need to define the parameters of success). Humans are extremely fixated on evidence, even when said evidence is based on opinion or limited facts. As such, we need to show the world how this can be accomplished.

In the next few posts, I’m going to do just that by covering examples of COOPERATION in our world that work toward a common goal without an extreme imbalance of power at play. Until next week, let me know what you think! Do you think humanity needs conflict? Is equality impossible? Am I just a stupid idealist? Whatever the opinion, let it be known! We won’t get anywhere without having the conversation.

Peace out, party people.

Previously: The Uniting of Strong Voices for Common Goals