The American Dream: To Be Or Not To Be

I am a first generation American.  My parents came to the United States in pursuit of the American Dream like most immigrants to the US.  However as I grew older, I noticed that though upward mobility through hard work does sometimes pay off, there are other factors that affected that hope for success.  Andrew Ross writes in No-Collar, “[w]ork was no longer something you performed for a fair wage; it was an investment, an opportunity, an asset that you or someone else could leverage as a means to boost a stock holding.  Nor was achievement or security tied to work performance; it was more likely determined by the story told by the daily stock holding.” (19)  So what made the American Dream appealing when in fact it doesn’t really exist?  And going along what we have been talking about in this semester so far, what work is good enough to become an investment to a certain company?

Ross explains the “no-collar” mentality in his book on page 34, “… the no-collar mentality applies to knowledge workers whose high-tech skills or aptitude for problem-solving wins them a measure of autonomy in a data-rich workplace purged of rigid supervision and lifestyle discrimination.” (34)  It seems like that no-collar workers are assets a company invests in because there is a demand for that type of worker: IT!  The Internet opened an infinite world of possibilities, and its boom certainly has affected our lifestyles today.  Streaming television, apps, databases, we have transferred most of what was written down and/or tangible onto digital platforms… that are not tangible things.

Technology is constantly evolving, constantly changing.  It isn’t stagnant and neither is the job market.  I disagree with the no-collar mentality because there is always someone an individual has to answer to.  Either it will be a company that hires you for creative work or you are submitted to the clenches of capitalism.  There is always a catch.

There have been so many people who have been telling me what I should do after college, and the answers vary.  They differ from my parents, my professors, my classmates, and those who I work with in my work study jobs.  Though the readings that we have done in this class are very informative and makes us think, it is terrifying to know that there is really not one place that would ever retain your services for an open ended time period.  We are all pawns in a chess game that is a capitalist society.

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