Some of these changes are often talked about by economists, politicians and other pundits. But these figures more often than not miss the big picture—it’s not just in interest rates, jobs, manufacturing etc. but the dynamic of the economy as a whole.
We aren’t going through a global recession— we’re transitioning between two distinct economic periods.
In The End of Jobs by Taylor Pearson we learn of the changing tide of the economy: The traditional way of working a 9-5 office job is being dropped in favor of outsourcing, virtual work, and entrepreneurship.
We’ve Hit ‘Peak Jobs’
As a society, we’ve hit peak jobs. The era of largely abundant, high-paying jobs that characterized the second half of the twentieth century is gone. Since 1983, the only segment of “jobs” to show significant growth were “Non-Routine Cognitive Jobs.” In other words: creating systems.
Gone are the days where you can graduate and be handed a job on a silver platter. You’re going to face tough competition from not only your peers, but a globalized workforce that is proficient in English and willing to work crazy hours in a slavish manner. And if you have a degree that’s not sought after, you’re in an even more difficult position.
Because of these improving global education standards and communication technologies, many of the jobs being outsourced were not blue-collar, manual labor jobs, but so-called white-collar jobs.
While people are haranguing trade deals because ‘They’re takin ‘er jobs’, white collar jobs are being shipped away too. And why wouldn’t they be? If an employer can find someone who is just as talented and more hardworking, who is willing to get paid for less—well, it’s only natural that they’d outsource their work.
Globalization means you are no longer competing to be more knowledgeable than the person down the street, but more knowledgeable than seven billion people around the world.
Additionally, with the advent of sites like UpWork (which I use for freelance writing) companies can forego hiring people, giving them healthcare and a 401k, opting instead to hire someone on a temporary basis from anywhere in the world. This allows them to get an expert in any subject they need, and not have to worry about them not being able to commute to work when all they have to do is flip open a laptop.
So what’s a guy to do?
Start a business.
Or get a job and start a business on the side. You probably have more time than you think.
In fact, our modern world is perfect becoming an entrepreneur.
Entrepreneurship is more accessible, safer, and more profitable than ever before in history.
Don’t Rely on a Single Job
One of the major concepts of this book is that people can no longer put all their eggs in one basket. They can’t simply go to college, expect to find a good job, and then stay put their for decades.
What was once safe is now risky. What was once risky is now safe.
This is something I want to enlighten people to as well. I recently wrote a post ‘What Else Are you Working On‘ trying to get guys to realize that they can, and should, be doing more than just their typical work.
Sadly, too many people are just plain ignorant of this situation. Taylor calls these people ‘Turkeys’.
Like Turkeys, many people are simply unaware of what’s going on around them. These turkeys have been brought up for years, only to be cut down so swiftly.
The longer the market goes without having a correction, the larger the correction will be when it happens. The longer we go in our careers and businesses without variation or randomness, the larger the amount of underlying risk we accumulate.
What’s Causing these Changes?
As Taylor explains, the ability to produce is being extended to the ordinary person. It used to be reserved for the wealthy industrial moguls, but the barriers to obtain capital and start a business have been knocked down.
The reason for this is what Taylor calls the ‘Democratization of the Tools of Production’. The three factors are:
- Product Creation Costs Are Decreasing
- Everyone Is a Media Company
- New Markets Are Revealed Every Day
The second factor really stood out to me. Just as technology can play against us, we can also leverage it to use it to our advantage.
Years ago, if you wanted to get your name out there, your book, your business etc., you had to take an ad out in the paper, radio or go knocking door-to-door. Not only was this a time-suck, it also limited your market to those only in your immediate geographic area. With the internet you can have a customer from halfway around the world!
You are a media company. What traditionally cost hundreds of thousands in advertising is now available to you.
— It’s easier and cheaper than ever to reach those markets. Thanks to digital distribution like YouTube, podcasting, and blogging, the newly-revealed markets are easier to reach and market to than ever.
The End of Jobs—How does it Stack Up?
There are a number of books that have come out on related subjects. Not necessarily with historical perspectives like The End of Jobs, but books talking about entrepreneurship, online business, etc.
I’ve read several of them including: The 4 Hour workweek, Choose Yourself, and the $100 startup to name a couple. It’s a popular subject. And it is necessary to distinguish one’s book from existing literature out there.
Not only did Taylor do this with the way he presented the subject matter, but he also included several unique topics in his book. One such example are apprenticeships—something that has been lost in the present-day American economy. Apprenticeships are a fantastic away to get a jumpstart in the industry of your choice, by allowing you to work closely with someone who has already achieved something great in their field. If you’re looking to become an apprentice, or find one to take under your wing, The End of Jobs provides a good resource to learn more about them.
Show, Don’t Tell
I also found useful the various case studies he lays out quite helpful. Without taking too much directly from his book, he cites an instance of a student who considered getting a Ph.D in philosophy. Instead he decided to start his own podcast.
Another much welcomed and appreciate part of his book is the ’90 day planner.’ There is a lot of info covered in this section. In fact, I plan on reviewing it next month and setting up my first quarter as 2016 begins.
What Will You do?
Whether you choose to fight the changes or embrace them is up to you. The opportunity won’t last forever.
Again, we’re not trying to scream ‘Bloody Murder’ and tell you to get out of the country as fast as you can with a hoard of cash and a location-independent business (although that’s not a terrible idea), but rather to be aware of what’s around you.
Never before in human history has an individual staring at his world had a greater ability to craft that story into one that now exists only in your imagination. You have the opportunity, right now, to design the future. Your future. Our future.
Get on board—now!
Click here to get your copy of The End of Jobs by Taylor Pearson on Amazon.