I hear a lot these days about job creation and growth and the economy. I really do worry about people who have have been out of job for over a year. Not working is totally destructive to a persons self-confidence and self-worth (not to mention bank account) and anyone out of the workforce for extended periods of time are in a really bad place.
It seems that there are two recessions going on: (1) the usually cyclical one and (2) the loss of factory jobs to the internet and overseas workers. #1 will return, but #2 is gone forever for the US. It’s not coming back.
Instead we should focus on the future. I read a good post today by Seth Godin where he writes about this very topic. He states:
When everyone has a laptop and connection to the world, then everyone owns a factory. Instead of coming together physically, we have the ability to come together virtually, to earn attention, to connect labor and resources, to deliver value.
Stressful? Of course it is. No one is trained in how to do this, in how to initiate, to visualize, to solve interesting problems and then deliver. Some see the new work as a hodgepodge of little projects, a pale imitation of a ‘real’ job. Others realize that this is a platform for a kind of art, a far more level playing field in which owning a factory isn’t a birthright for a tiny minority but something that hundreds of millions of people have the chance to do.
Gears are going to be shifted regardless. In one direction is lowered expectations and plenty of burger flipping. In the other is a race to the top, in which individuals who are awaiting instructions begin to give them instead.
The future feels a lot more like marketing–it’s impromptu, it’s based on innovation and inspiration, and it involves connections between and among people–and a lot less like factory work, in which you do what you did yesterday, but faster and cheaper.
This means we may need to change our expecations, change our training and change how we engage with the future. Still, it’s better than fighting for a status quo that is no longer. The good news is clear: every forever recession is followed by a lifetime of growth from the next thing…
Job creation is a false idol. The future is about gigs and assets and art and an ever-shifting series of partnerships and projects. It will change the fabric of our society along the way. No one is demanding that we like the change, but the sooner we see it and set out to become an irreplaceable linchpin, the faster the pain will fade, as we get down to the work that needs to be (and now can be) done.
This revolution is at least as big as the last one, and the last one changed everything.
I like that. Let’s move forward rather than trying to bring back the past.