The End of Jobs: Money, Meaning and Freedom Without the 9-to-5
I was first introduced to the book End of Jobs and author Taylor Pearson on Ryan Rhoten’s Brand New You Podcast. (By the way, I became a big fan of Ryan’s podcast after I was interviewed by Ryan late last year.)
I immediately ordered the audio version of End of Jobs and listened to it twice. Taylor’s focus and message are primarily directed at his generation—Gen Y—but I believe this is a message that every boomer should listen to.
Taylor claims that we are exiting the knowledge economy and entering the entrepreneurial economy. It has never been easier to become an entrepreneur with little risk. At the same time, jobs are getting to be riskier and riskier.
Taylor claims we have reached peak jobs. He writes:
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.
According to a 2015 report from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers based on data from the US Census Bureau, from 1948–2000, jobs grew 1.7× faster than population. Since 2000, the population has grown 2.4× faster than jobs.
There are several factors that have caused this shift. Taylor states:
There are three primary reasons to believe that we are at peak jobs and approaching the End of Jobs:
- Sharp rises in communication technology and improved global educational standards over the past decade mean that companies can hire anyone, anywhere. Jobs are increasingly moving to Asia, South America, and Eastern Europe.
- The notion of machines, both hardware, and software, taking over blue-collar factory jobs now largely accepted—but now they’re increasingly taking over white collar, knowledge-based jobs as well.
- Traditional university degrees—bachelor’s, master’s, and PhDs—have become abundant, making them less valuable than ever.
I am going to add a fourth, and that is the rapid aging of populations in countries like the US, UK, Germany, France, and Japan. The median age in Japan and Germany is now over 50. Think about it!
This shift is happening and, as much as you might not like it, the rate of change will not slow down but accelerate.
Since most of us will need to work into our seventies and possibly eighties, the concept of a job has become an obsolete proposition.
How Not to Be a Turkey
I was raised to be a turkey. Taylor uses the following quote to explain the life of a turkey:
“A turkey is fed for a thousand days by a butcher; every day confirms to its staff of analysts that butchers love turkeys ‘with increased statistical confidence.’ The butcher will keep feeding the turkey until a few days before Thanksgiving…[The] turkey will have a revision of belief—right when its confidence in the statement that the butcher loves turkeys is maximal and ‘it is very quiet’ and soothingly predictable in the life of the turkey.” N.N. Taleb
From the day a Thanksgiving turkey is born, everything about its life indicates that things are only going to get better. It’s hatched in a safe, sterile environment. It’s cared for and fed daily.
Every single day, this pattern happens again. It wakes up to find plenty of food and a place to live.
It is at the moment when the turkey has the most historical data to show that its life is likely to keep improving, on the 4th Wednesday of November, that it realizes — It’s not so good to be a turkey.
I was raised to be an employee to go to work for a father-like company that would provide all of my wishes and eventual retirement.
That was all true for me until January 1993 when IBM eliminated their full employment commitment and laid people off for the first time in their history. That was when I realized—I was a turkey.
Are you a turkey?
Entrepreneurship is Safer Than Ever
The barriers to entrepreneurship have never been lower.
There is a democratization of tools. SaaS, or Software as a Service, has brought leading-edge tools to the masses. I run Career Pivot on a variety of tools that are either free or low cost. You can read about the tools I use here.
There is a democratization of distribution.
When I was working in the People’s Republic of China (PRC) from 2000-2003, getting a product manufactured there was difficult. In 2016, it is a matter of browsing the website Alibaba and finding a factory that manufactures similar products to yours. It is really quite easy.
I know what you’re thinking…really?? I have a Leadership Austin classmate who has a workout glove design that he is having manufactured in the PRC. The factory ships the products to Amazon procurement which warehouses the product until it is sold online on Amazon.
In the book, Taylor takes you through the logic on why this is happening and why his generation should be jumping at the new reality.
End of Jobs
I have lived through many of the transitions that Taylor writes about in the End of Jobs. He warns that if you plan to ride this out you will be surely be left behind.
He is right!
Pick up a copy of The End of Jobs: Money, Meaning and Freedom Without the 9-to-5 and let me know if you are a turkey or if you are going to enter the age of entrepreneurship.Marc Miller
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