Who are you going to be? That is the question.
Our special guest is Dr. Jeff Schmidt, author of Disciplined Minds: A Critical Look At Salaried Professionals and The Soul-Battering System That Shapes Their Lives.
“This book is stolen. Written in part on stolen time, that is. Because like millions of others who work for a living, I was giving most of my prime time to my employer…”
So begins Jeff Schmidt in this riveting book about the world of professional work. Schmidt demonstrates that the workplace is a battleground for the very identity of the individual, as is graduate school, where professionals are trained. He shows that professional work is inherently political, and that professionals are hired to maintain strict “ideological discipline.”
The hidden root of much career dissatisfaction, argues Schmidt, is the professional’s lack of control over the political component of his or her creative work. Many professionals set out to make a contribution to society and add meaning to their lives. Yet our system of professional education and employment abusively inculcates an acceptance of politically subordinate roles in which professionals typically do not make a significant difference, undermining the creative potential of individuals, organizations, and even democracy.
Schmidt details the battle one must fight to be an independent thinker, showing how an honest reassessment of what it means to be a professional in today’s corporate society can be remarkably liberating. After reading this book, no one who works for a living will ever think the same way about his or her job.
Jeff Schmidt was an editor at Physics Today magazine for 19 years, until he was fired for writing this provocative book. He has a Ph.D. in physics from the University of California, Irvine, and has taught in the United States, Central America, and Africa. Born and raised in Los Angeles, he now lives in Washington, D.C. You may write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.