Starting a Business
The Job Security Myth
Written by Chukwuma Asala for Gaebler Ventures
A myth can be defined as a traditional story accepted as history which serves to explain the world view of how things are done today. This article will take a look at how the popular phrase, "job security", is fast-becoming one of the more popular myths in the 21st century.
It is no secret that the economy is currently in a recession...or may as well be, given how most of us are feeling.
Government officials have tried to keep it from the public, but with inflation rates at 5.6% and job losses of 463,000, there is definitely something wrong.
According to a CNN report earlier this month "the unemployment rate rose to 5.7% from a 5.5% reading in June" and it was "the worst reading since March 2004". The bewildering thing to those of us who don't have our heads buried in the sand is that people still talk about Job security like it is something that still holds true today. My advice is that you bring your head from the sand and face the reality that job loss is universal, it is prevalent, and it is only matter of time before you are next if you don't do something about it.
The two words "job" and "security" have no connection to each other in today's economy. The phrase itself doesn't make sense and is an oxymoron at best. Kind of like Jumbo shrimp, or death benefits. You can't have any tangible benefits given to you when you die, and jumbo shrimp are probably the tiniest things you can order on a menu these days.
But why aren't jobs as secure as they used to be? What changed in the economy that is producing such an ambivalent attitude in workers today both at the entry level and nearing retirement?
A quick recap of the economy stars us off as an agrarian society, one that is based on agriculture as its primary means for support and sustenance. The society acknowledges other means of livelihood and work habits but stresses on agriculture and farming. This was the common way for Medieval European countries to gain wealth and the United States slowly followed suit.
Next came the Industrial age which totally changed the focus from farming and agriculture to steel mills and power plants. Production on a mass scale was the economy's priority and the industrial revolution required that people leave their homes to go to work elsewhere to make a living. In other words they needed employees, not farm owners. Big business required the biggest resource to effectively work; people.
Around the early 1960s, the number of people holding "white collar" jobs was starting to exceed the number of people holding "blue collar" jobs. It was clear at this point that we were leaving the Industrial Age and moving into something else. As the Industrial Age ended, the newer times adopted the title of "the Information Age" which is the term that has been used to refer to the present era. The name alludes to the global economy's shift in focus away from the production of physical goods (as exemplified by the industrial age) and instead towards the manipulation of information to provide those goods and services more effectively and efficiently from a business and consumer standpoint.
The internet has essentially replaced a lot of "middle-men" in the distribution value chain as well as other markets in the economy. As such, employees are not needed half as much as they used to. You don't even need a bank teller to complete large business transactions anymore let alone buy groceries. Everything today is either automated or sent off-shore. And why are employees being removed from the business equation so much more these days? Simple: they are every company's biggest expense.
Something else the internet has brought about is reduced cost of overhead for businesses. More and more people are now doing business via the internet to the point where business can afford to close down some of their stores. In the past to be successful, it used to be the more stores you had open the more money you had the potential to make. Now it is the reverse: the more warehouses you can build as an inventory- base for your online audience the more money you have the potential to make.
Another major reason job security is not realistic anymore goes back to an earlier point made. The bottom line is that people go to work to make money. In fact, people go to work to get paid the most they can for doing the least amount of work possible. This is in direct opposition to what a company hires employees for. They hire people to work their hardest for as little money as they can afford to pay them. So if your advancement in the company is an expense to them, who do you think is going to win this battle? You already know the answer to that.
Okay, so now you understand that the whole job thing is a way of the past and more and more jobs are rapidly getting phased out. 463,000 jobs lost and counting in the year 2008. How does one go about getting security?
Start your own business and get behind the wheel of this vehicle called life. If you've only got one real shot at this thing then why not make sure you know what is going on rather than wondering when you're getting the pink slip. If you're reading this, you probably have already caught the entrepreneurship bug and are considering taking the red pill. All it takes is a few Office Space movie moments before you start looking for Morpheus to plug you in like Neo from the Matrix.
The economy has changed and is continuing to change with or without the people acknowledging this change. Just like when the first automobiles were manufactured a lot of farmers complained that the chickens didn't like the sound of the cars, people today will continue to complain that they're not getting the raises they want, they don't like their boss, they work hard and have nothing to show for it, but they will still refuse to CHANGE.
The famous saying is that if you want to be successful, observe the masses and do the opposite. 98% of people in the United States, land of the free, home of the brave, cannot retire at age 65. The 2% that can are either investors or own their own businesses. I recommend get in business for yourself as fast as you can, before your job is given to one of these young puppies coming out of Business School. And remember: they don't hate their job, yet.
Chukwuma Asala is an international student from Nigeria who is studying to earn an MBA from the State University of New York in Albany. He has analyzed more than 20 industry case studies throughout his education thus far, and hopes to bring some of his business knowledge to Gaebler.com.
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