Post about "Online Education"

Well Educated Hobos

During the Great Depression period of the 1930′s there were a tremendous amount of hobos wandering the country. The term ‘hobo’ probably comes from a combination of the two words ‘hoe’ and ‘boy’ referring to itinerant laborers who wandered from house to house and farm to farm carrying only the clothes on their back and a long handled hoe used for impromptu gardening jobs in order to make a few nickels. The term seems to go back to the late 19th century however it was likely modified for the depression era wanderers. Hobos wandered for various reasons but the most likely were; to find better prospects for work, disillusionment with the economy, and the breakdown of many families due to unemployment. Though displaced and disillusioned these individuals also carried with them many skills and some of them were well educated.As I write about well qualified and displaced workers I am reminded of a conversation with a close friend this past week. My friend is highly intelligent and also highly educated but is an older worker searching for gainful employment along with millions of others in this country. He related to me that it is tough to be one of the smartest guys in the room and yet carry around the hard to shake sensation that intelligence and a dollar merely gets you a cup of coffee these days. It seems that education and the educated have become passé and may continue to be so until the need for university gained knowledge comes around again. This is not an attempt to diminish the well schooled on my part. I am one of them. The point is to say that the twofold value of education in the past, the desire for employment and the joy of learning for its own sake, has become a one fold benefit in that of becoming a learned person only. The employment aspect is no longer a given.I feel that the unemployed are not facing a condition of not being wanted or needed, but are dealing with a function of pure economics in the current job climate. Employers are not hiring at large and therefore have all of the brainpower that they need for the most part. This then leaves a general employment profile, in my opinion, of companies staying the course which merely requires a workforce that has the basic skills to keep the ship afloat until better times come around. By better times I mean conditions which call for increased intellectual capital due to economic growth in new industries as well as expansion due to technological opportunities and exigencies for existing industries.Having stated all of this I still strongly feel that intelligence and education are great gifts to be had. Until this great recession they were gifts that could be used to make a good living. Not as much currently. All one has to do is read the myriad articles and accounts of how one thousand people applied for a single part time job. I am curious as to why the other 999 or so came up short. Statistically speaking, many of these individuals must be well educated and highly intelligent. Still, skills gained from education and intellectual pursuits are to be set aside or used less frequently until better times. The educated hobos of today may not be physically wandering yet are likely still moving about, looking for opportunities to use their intellectual tools, and then to move on to another farmhouse to the next patch of soil in order to earn a few nickels for another day.