Guest Joel (he hardly looks insane or wrong, right?) is wrong. Only his arguments are so cleverly wrought it is possible that I may be simply my usual obstreperous self and looking for ways to prove my guest wrong. Which is hardly hospitable, but there ya go.
Joel will tell you some compelling arguments about why you/me/we don’t want jobs. He’ll even slyly refer to me in this part of his virtual book tour as being someone who loves her work – and telling me why I am wrong!! (Huffy, pouty face and little balloon of revenge thoughts.)
Thing is, he might be saying we’ll all be entrepreneurs and contract workers and this will be better than my union job. And, I will say all the contract workers and entrepreneurs worry more than I do, work more than I do (at least some of the time – they certainly don’t take all summer off and Christmas and Spring Break), and often make about the same money as I do. Who is right? You be the judge. Read what he has to say as he stands at the podium of my virtual literary cafe/book store and then read his book.
Come on back and tell me I’m wrong. I dare ya!
In a Financial Utopia There Are No Jobs
I’m an idealist. I spend my whole life in the interstitial spaces between what is and what could be.
I’m a chucker of rocks into shrubbery. What flies out is far more interesting than what flew in. As an idealist, I’m fond of making bold sweeping statements in absolute terms.
During my virtual book tour (this is stop #10 on your dance cards, ladies and gentlemen) there has been resistance to my claim that you, yes you, right there, do not want a job.
Some folks think, yes, yes I do, thank you very much.
I know. I know that’s what you think you want. While I’ve touched on it briefly as the train pulled away from those other stations, today, I’m going to lay out my utopian vision for our financial future.
It does not include jobs. And since I actually believe this, idealist that I am, you can want a job all you want, but before long, there ain’t gonna be any jobs.
Why Jobs Exist
A quick overview, because you’re sharp enough to do the research yourself: jobs exist because the industrial revolution created a need for factory cogs. Pulling Lever #4B all day every day required a very different work force than did the village-oriented world of commerce before.
For millennia, a young man grew up as his father’s apprentice, or, sometimes, another man’s apprentice, learning a trade which would become his livelihood. (In really enlightened cultures, even daughters were allowed to work.)
Everyone was self-employed.
Slowly, as sons and even daughters went off to apprentice elsewhere, and as factories needed more and more cogs, what had once been a family business, self-employment, became a small employer.
Why Jobs Don’t Have to Exist
I have a friend who works for Boeing. I have friends who are teachers in various school systems in different countries. I have a friend who’s a chemist in an non-government environmental agency.
And they all, every one, love their work.
I am not saying people should change their work.
I am saying, they don’t really want a job.
Let’s imagine the scenario most folks immediately jump to: a worker in a huge company like Boeing. How can you do that unless you have jobs?
How Can You Run an Enterprise Without Jobs?
In a perfect world, they could do exactly what they’re doing now, but as a contractor, with more control.
Wikipedia and Linux are two classic examples that show a worldwide group of people can create and realize a grand vision.
Did you know that every single Volvo is handmade by a 6-person team? Each team is almost entirely autonomous. Small teams mean that when someone is missing, it’s felt by their closest workmates. Reduces absenteeism by a huge proportion.
What if every single person there were a contractor? What if everyone were there because they wanted to be, because they believed the vision, and not just because it was a paycheck? I know that in any large corporation, there are lots and lots of people who believe. But there are also people who are just there putting in time, and if there was another way to make a buck, they’d go do it.
The corporate employee model makes it easy for slackers to slip under the radar. It makes it easy for CEOs to rake in millions, even when the company is suffering.
What if that 6-person department had the authority to fire a slacker and replace them with a believer? What if the company as a whole could fire the CEO without severance, for non-performance?
Make It Personal
If each individual were aware that acting in the best interest of the company was the only way they kept their contract, everyone would behave differently.
And what if you could spend 3 days a week at Boeing, and one day a week working for a videographer, and one day a week taking classes in trade for some skill of your own?
You’re used to showing up at the office at a particular time, 5 days a week, and whenever they call for overtime.
What if you went in when there was work to do, and left when it was done, but still made the same money because you were paid for outcomes, not hours?
Why Jobs Won’t Exist Much Longer
The beast is already dead, but like a dinosaur, it just doesn’t know it yet.
The social changes of the internet and the financial frustrations of most of the planet’s inhabitants are among forces we can’t control. Most people, though, are like Cnut, commanding the tide not to come in.
Some will fight tooth and nail to the very end, until the day their job is shot out from under them. Others will see the ambush and jump at the last moment.
Those with insight, who see what is instead of only what they wish, will have a spare horse standing by — their own horse, instead of a loaner.