Old School vs. New School

03 Nov


In my last post I shared about my hubby taking the big leap: leaving his very comfortable and “safe” corporate job in Manhattan.


There are many details why he wasn’t enjoying his job anymore which is the main reason why he chose to leave – but today I’d like to talk about two different schools of thought and work ethic: Old School vs. New School. Although I’m not really sure there is a coined term “New School” but I would assume that if there is an Old School, there would have to be a New School no? hehe… but I digress.


“Old School”


I have come to the conclusion that it is dubbed “Old School” because it’s usually the attitude of Old people!!!! Or in nicer terms: the older generation.


I learned about this in depth in sociology class a few years back – but since I’m not a professor and I really hate professing boring details – I’ll give the short version.


Years ago (think our parents/ grandparents) grew up when Middle Class America was solid. The blue collar worker was created, and the 9-5 work day was strong (mind you, the 9-5 work day began during the Industrial Revolution) but think of the 1950’s and 1960’s (and on) when the mom stayed home with the kids and the dad went to work every morning … came home every evening … and worked at the same job all his life. I see in my own dad and many of my friends’ parents a similar work ethic. It’s the attitude that if you work hard, show company loyalty – you will reap the benefits. Your company will take good care of you (think Pensions, 401k, health benefits etc.) and therefore you stayed with that company up until retirement.  And for many years this was the case…


Sadly, this “brand” (or company) loyalty just doesn’t exist anymore. Due to globalization, advances in technology, outsourcing of jobs – PLUS the recent recession, there really is no such thing as job security that once existed. Thinking you will remain in your job for the next 20 or 30 years does not work anymore. Not only that – but if a guy (or girl) begins at a company believing that they will not change companies (or even careers) over the course of their lifetime, they are being very naïve and blind to today’s ever changing world.


Nevertheless, this “Old School” attitude still exists…. It’s the attitude that tells us to keep the job, even if it means little unhappiness. We work because we have a family to support and stability is important.  As the breadwinner of the family – you do what you have to do – even if it means a longer commute, even if it means not seeing your children as much – even if it means putting in longer hours –you keep the job because that’s the way the system works. It also includes the theory that you’ll get to enjoy your life when you retire at 65 with your company pension and Social Security benefits. (I’ll pause for a moment while you laugh at the last statement …. :):))


So what does this mean for our discussion? In simple layman’s terms it means that when my husband decides that he wants to leave his “so – called” comfortable and wonderful job – the “old school” people tell him it’s a bad idea. They will tell him he should ride it out – because later on things will get better. And they will tell him that with the bad economy who knows if he will find something just as good with as many benefits. This is the Old School thinking.


“New School”

And now, let’s look at a new attitude that has recently emerged in the last 15 years or so.

I say 15 years because if you think when the internet boom began (early 90’s) –coupled with the explosion of globalization – this is when our society really began to shift from the earlier decades of conventional working… to the new age of working. This includes a burst of jobs in computer programming, creating websites, online mediums and of course this very new age career in Social Media. (something I myself didn’t know existed until recently – I mean come on – who would ever imagine having a FULL time job in Facebook and Twitter?! Kind of cool, no?)


So what is this New School way of looking at work and career?

It’s the phenomenon of working from home. It’s the wonder of freelance and consulting work. It’s the freedom of creating your own hours. It’s the concept of being your own boss. It’s the thought of re-working your schedule that allows you to see your children, see daylight hours (as opposed to being cooped up in an office all day long) – it’s the understanding that in an ever changing world, staying in the same position with the same education and the same knowledge – does not work. It’s realizing more than ever the importance of networking and socializing with like-minded people in your field. You know what the number one thing that I personally like about this New School attitude? The LOVING of what you do.


Granted, there are people who are perfectly content in their 9-5 cubicle life… or they work in a company that they truly enjoy and that’s great. Then you have people who continue to hate their jobs… they feel “stuck” (for whatever reason) and trudge through life schlepping their feet behind them. It is to you that I talk about this resurgence of ideas to branch out and really do what you love and love what you do. More and more people are realizing that the old style of going to work day after day for 40 years only to come to the pearly gates with such regret that they didn’t spend more time with their kids … or they didn’t open that small business they always dreamed of or travel across Europe… (you get the picture)

Today, more than ever people are taking back their lives, reclaiming their freedom and the right and ability to do what they really want.


(Now, before you get your undies in a knot {because I know you are} – you’re gonna turn your nose up at my hippie attitude, that I haven’t taken into consideration that raising kids costs MONEY! Trust me – I’m not naïve and I realize that life costs money. And so, don’t you fret none, because I will discuss my opinions on this matter in an upcoming post – I assure you :))


Old School attitude wants you to stay… and New School tells you to go!

It’s very difficult to pick up and leave your job… but what’s even more difficult is to leave the attitude behind.  Leaving the attitude that you should just stay where you are, not take risks and not enjoy life to your fullest potential …. It’s difficult to shed the Old School thinking because it really is going against the grain of what your friends, what your family and what your parents’ mindset towards working has taught you. And in some ways, it’s good that we have that reminder, our parents’ voices in our heads, because it ensures that we aren’t reckless in the process. Reckless of not having a plan….


And with that – I will leave you off (great cliffhanger no? :)) In my next post I will continue to discuss how to leave the Rat Race without being Rattled (ooh I like that play on words!) in other words – it’s good to leave, but it’s also good to have a plan of action.




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