Social Question

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Should you career/job be necessary?

Asked by Simone_De_Beauvoir (38937points) April 13th, 2010

As a patient navigator put in hospitals to help cancer patients understand and manage their health care in a fragmented system, I often think about how much of what I do should be someone else’s responsibilty – the doctors should be able to talk to their patients about end of life care, hospice, etc. instead of piling it on me and pumping in chemotherapy for no good reason when the patient is already in their last weeks; billing administrators should be the ones filling out applications to help cancer patients pay for tx (if there even should be such a thing) instead of wasting hours (!) on dealing with hundreds of insurance companies, their automated robots and constant changing responses and straight out lies about how much they’d cover; people should have access to mental health care or counseling instead of breaking down in the infusion center and taking hours of the nurses’ time so that they can talk – they don’t mind, by any means but it takes away from their work and there are so many patients; at the very least there should be a social worker in place to deal with the more dire homelessness/starvation/foreclosure issues because I am NOT a social worker, yet I now address all of these issues because how can I not? So sometimes when I teach the staff here how to look for resources and what to do, I think “I am trying to work myself out of my job and that’s how it should be”.

I’ve thought about some people here on fluther and their jobs – would they think the same? Would a professional nanny feel that her charges’ parents are supposed to be there more rather than let her take care of their kids? Would a professional editor feel that people should be able to write better and that by helping them, their work is better than it was but it’s not their effort? these are all assumptions, not saying it’s true

What about you? Should your career exist or is it filling in a failure of some sort on a part of some system and in the future do you hope there is no such thing as your job?

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41 Answers

DarkScribe's avatar

Nope. That is if everyone could suddenly develop selective telepathic skills, journalists would not be needed and if everyone suddenly improved their English skills editors would not be needed. Until then I will (hopefully) be needed.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@DarkScribe Well, given reality, we do still need journalists.

jfos's avatar

Brilliant question! Kudos on the hard work.

I think that my job—assistant to a financial representative—is necessary/instrumental to my boss’s success.

(I wouldn’t call it a career, it’s just part-time while I’m going to college…)

DarkScribe's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir Well, given reality, we do still need journalists.

Unfortunately the demand for print media is lessening year by year. It will be sad to see it finally fade – as it will.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@DarkScribe Are journalists not needed no matter what the medium is?

bobloblaw's avatar

“Should your career exist or is it filling in a failure of some sort on a part of some system…”

That’s sort of the point, isn’t it? In a mostly market economy, your job exists b/c it serves a function that people need. I would say that there are very few jobs out there that were created for absolutely no reason (not to say that jobs never become redundant).

janbb's avatar

The death of librarianship has been predicted for the past 20 years or so and it’s certainly possible that the profession will “cease to exist.” However, even with the advent of Google and E-books, many people still need help in sorting the wheat from the chaff and even in finding the wheat to begin with. The profession continues to evolve as we deal with issues of information literacy, changing technologies, access to materials, and leveling the playing field for the less advantaged, I hope there will still be a place for librarians in the world to come, but it is possible that the profession will die out.

DarkScribe's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir Are journalists not needed no matter what the medium is?

Yes, but bloggers and individual newsgroup posters are often as “in touch” as many journalists. Look at Matt Drudge and his clones. There will always be demand, but the content is changing. I am an active part of it, but I miss some aspects of the “old days”.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@janbb Just because it’s ‘going out of business’ doesn’t mean it wasn’t necessary when it was, right? – and I like how you said about evolution – in my case, I hope health care evolves my job out of existence – not gonna happen, though.

janbb's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir Oh for sure. I am very proud of being a librarian and what I have given/do give to people.

anartist's avatar

Why are you trying to talk yourself out of a job? If a need has arisen [and I seem to see the limitations placed on medical professionals by insurance companies as the villain in your scenarios] for a job like yours, why knock it? Jobs are scarce enough out there.

phillis's avatar

In some circumstances I would definitely say yes, Simone. The ideal situation is always to have a person be responsible for thier things, both personal and professional. For one thing, it would save a lot of money, not having to pay a person to take up your slack. I could rattle off a list of advantages to being responsible, but what’s the point? As long as people are unwilling to act responsibly (as opposed to being over-worked and needing extra help), but don’t, this will never be.

The thing I like about your type of work is that the patients are the primary focus. That is one of the things I liked about gimp calls (taking a patient to a doctor’s appointment, rather than responding to an emergency). It afforded me a chance to chat with patients who meet a string of healthcare professionals, but never have any meaningful interactions with any of them. That makes the healthcare field a scary, cold place, especially when your body has failed you. I agree wth you – patients could benefit greatly from even more focus. Hopefully, you also work hand in hand with the hospital chaplains, as well. But for now, as long as the patient’s needs are met, that is the most important thing.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@anartist Of course, this is a more of a hypothetical/philosophical discussion rather than a pragmatic one – I am not knocking that I have a job, just musing whether it should be there – besides, I don’t really believe I can work myself out of it.

Captain_Fantasy's avatar

If our careers and jobs weren’t necessary in some degree they wouldn’t pay us to do it very long. Someone thinks it’s a necessity. That’s usually the same person who signs your paycheck so best to keep that sentiment on te down low at work lest you convince them to re-evaluate why they’re paying you.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@Captain_Fantasy Right, of course they’re necessary, obviously but should they be?

Captain_Fantasy's avatar

Some of these jobs around probably aren’t necessary, I agree.

aprilsimnel's avatar

Someone has to know enough about the creative and business sides of a production to bridge them and get the film/TV program/live show to the big screen/monitor/stage. That’s usually the producer, so, yes, my job is necessary.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@Captain_Fantasy what about yours?
@aprilsimnel Very cool, thanks, :)

tinyfaery's avatar

America is the land of the middle man. Even an attorney just fills in for a person’s lack of legal knowledge.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@tinyfaery I guess if you broadly approach the topic, then certainly.

Dr_Dredd's avatar

I don’t think physicians will ever not be needed. Our role may change, though. I think solo primary care practices are a dying breed. Physicians will either be employed by hospitals or large group practices/HMO’s. It’s too bad; I think people miss the days when they could actually spend time talking to their doctor.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@Dr_Dredd Do you ever think that our society can revert to relying on religion/mysticism instead of doctors?

anartist's avatar

I remember when doctors came to the house.

It would seem that your [unappealing] job is the result of evolution in healthcare that is designed for cost-effectiveness, by limiting physician and even nurse contact time and replacing it with the service time of a lower-paid individual. That is why a lot of unrewarding jobs exist—the bottom line

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@anartist My job is incredibly rewarding and I am good at what I do – again this question was by no means just so that I can vent.

unique's avatar

i work in philanthropy to benefit public land. it would be great if public assets were publicly funded…but they’re not.

Dr_Dredd's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir I don’t think so, unless mysticism can translate into something tangible. For instance, unless religion/mysticism can reliably and consistently treat an illness, people will look to medicine for treatment.

YARNLADY's avatar

Just because someone else can do the job doesn’t mean it isn’t necessary. Sometimes tasks have to be broken down into their components to give them the proper attention. I wouldn’t want my doctor being too busy talking to someone about their treatment or financial options instead of actually doing the treatment. It’s best to let the administrative matters be handled by one person, and the technical matters by someone else.

When I was a bookkeeper, I never wondered if the sales department should write their own checks for the things they bought. It was my job to make sure all the bills were paid, and all the records were kept properly, and some one else’s job to make sure the revenue stream continued to flow. That’s the way it should be.

Rarebear's avatar

My job is definitely a failure of various systems. If the world worked perfectly, I’d be totally unnecessary.

YARNLADY's avatar

@Rarebear Maybe you are helping to create that perfect world.

Rarebear's avatar

@YARNLADY Nice sentiment, but no. I’m a doctor in an intensive care unit. My job is to deal with disastrous failures of various kinds.

zophu's avatar

Almost every service can be replaced by robots and other artificial systems. Where services still require human involvement, the staff can still be greatly shrunk with implementation of modern technology. (Or technology from 10–20 years ago, even.)

Not an easy thing to accept, but what you spend the majority of your waking life working for—what you sacrifice time with loved ones and ambitions for; it’s all probably pointless on the grand scale of things. Unnecessary necessities.

A factory floor, a line of full-grown men and women standing in front of a conveyor belt piecing together bits of metal in the exact same way, over and over and over and over and over and over. . . Behind them stands a single machine in the center of the warehouse cutting intricate, beautiful designs into sheets of wood, over and over and over. The people’s job could obviously be done by common industrial machinery, while a human artist would be able to make more unique designs in wood. But, the factory owners need the tax breaks having employees gives, and it doesn’t trust the human’s slow, variable hand with any creative tasks.

The way we are forced to live our lives is a joke. Don’t take your career too seriously, just get done what has to be done and hope you’re not caught in the inevitable blast.

mrrich724's avatar

I am an HR Coordinator and I assist two managers and a director. If the director and one of the managers could use computers, and if all three put in a little more work on the “small stuff” the company would save $40k a year…

JeanPaulSartre's avatar

I don’t see myself working myself out of a job as a musician, or really as a parent – but on the latter, I hope to work to the point where I’m not needed and preferably to the point where my children can teach me instead.

janbb's avatar

@JeanPaulSartre That time really does come – I promise you.

JeanPaulSartre's avatar

@janbb That’s an interesting theory ;)

mattbrowne's avatar

No career should exist if humanity finds better ways. Innovation ends careers and creates new ones.

YARNLADY's avatar

@mattbrowne Yet, there’s always going to be people who would rather pay someone to do what they don’t want to do.

zophu's avatar

For most people, the idea of a world where they don’t have the prerogative to blank-out 10 or more hours a day is unthinkable.

flo's avatar

There would always be enough for everyone to do, even if everyone did what they are supposed to do or didn’t do what they are not supposed to do.

flo's avatar

I just want to add the reasoning behind my answer above. There is no good invention that was invented too early. All the energy, money, that is being wasted on picking up of the litter, for example, is slowing down, the advent all kinds of good things. Too many people have the potentential to invent things and ideas, don’t have the opportunity.

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