(WARNING: This post is political in nature. You have been warned!)
It’s been over 15 years since I was “brainwashed” into thinking that being my own boss would be a good career choice, and that a job in America was no longer a secure way to make a living. I even tried to “brainwash” others in hopes that they would see the light and give entrepreneurship a try. However, my efforts were in vain. Most people prefer working by the hour, or for a regular salary – it’s the path of least resistance. Even falling job security didn’t seem to scare anyone I knew out of putting their livelihood in someone else’s hands.
Today, more than ever, I do not regret my choice to be an entrepreneur. While there are many things I’d have done differently in my business, I can’t think of another career path that suits me better. In my 5th grade yearbook, the caption below my name reads, “I want to be a math teacher because I enjoy math.” Until the age of 18, this was my plan. Thankfully for me, I found a different plan.
It’s incredibly shameful that so many Americans today see teachers – and all union workers, for that matter – as economic leeches. Big business, somehow, is infallible. Now that more and more states are passing Right To Work laws – and eroding the collective bargaining rights of public unions – neither the public nor private sector can provide true job security.
Now this doesn’t mean you need to go quit your job right this second, or start prepping for an apocalypse. It just means that now, more than ever, it’s critical for all of us to have an extra income stream, whether it’s freelance writing, online selling, or even tutoring. Depending on a single employer to take care of you for the rest of your life is no longer the paradigm; it’s a pipe dream for most people.
While it’s true that some of us will still be fortunate enough to find a job that will provide health care, retirement, and a proper livelihood, these types of jobs are quickly disappearing and being replaced with minimum wage service jobs, or simply being outsourced completely. Politicians say to get a better job if you don’t like your wage, but even if you get a better job, your rights and benefits are still being stripped away!
15 years ago, I saw the beginning of the end of an era when companies began to downsize en masse. Now it’s par for the course. Our economy is changing, and money talks. Money is writing the laws. Unions are being eroded, and the average nine-to-five job isn’t enough to support a family anymore. While it’s hard to come to an agreement on a solution to this problem, it should be undeniable that there is growing inequality, and the job market does not hold all the answers. Without a Basic Income or other social safety net, millions of Americans will eventually find themselves unable to make a living, and American businesses will find themselves at a loss for customers.
We’re told to work hard and get lots of education, but the truth is there are only so many jobs available. As time goes by, this will only get worse. More technology means more automated work by machines and less work done by humans. While technology will bring rise to new jobs, it’s going to put way more people out of work than it will be putting to work. It’s going to be a political nightmare to find a solution to this growing problem.
What can you do to protect yourself? Start something small. You don’t need to invest thousands of dollars to begin. You can literally start a web business for six dollars per month. If you’re willing to spend tens of thousands of dollars training for a job that will soon be obsolete, what’s your excuse for not investing six bucks to start your own internet venture? As Wayne Gretzky said… you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take!