“Job creation is a false idol. The future is about gigs and assets and art and an ever-shifting series of partnerships and projects.” – Seth Godin, The Forever Recession (and the Coming Revolution)
The U.S. national unemployment rate is hovering at around 9 percent. Millions of people are unemployed, underemployed, or unhappily employed. Millions of jobs have been destroyed by the ravages of the recent recession, and many of those jobs are unlikely to come back, even when the economy recovers because the skills and capacities needed to do those jobs are no longer as much in demand by employers.
To give one highly visible example, the U.S. economy no longer needs as many construction workers and mortgage brokers and realtors as we did during the years of the housing boom. And many administrative “office jobs” have been outsourced or automated as digital technologies and globalization and productivity increases have made it possible to do more work with fewer full-time American employees.
So with unemployment at the highest levels in 30 years, where are the jobs of the future going to come from? Seth Godin’s quote about “job creation is a false idol” might sound pessimistic, but I don’t think that was his intention: the point is, “job creation” as we have known it before, where big companies hire thousands and thousands of people to do mass production and mass marketing to mass audiences, is not really happening anymore.
The jobs of tomorrow are going to come not from the big, established employers of the Fortune 500, but from young, entrepreneurial companies. According to Inc. magazine, “In the United States, companies five years old and younger account for virtually all net job growth.”
We can’t rely on big employers or the government to save us from a bad economy – it’s up to us as entrepreneurs and freelancers and small business people to create our own futures. If you’re waiting for someone to “create a job” for you, you’re going to be waiting for a long, long time. It’s better to create your own job.
All the tools and resources that you need to start a business are now available online. All the people you need to help you are available online. The markets you want to serve are online. What are you waiting for? It’s not easy, but it’s easier than trying to fit into an old-fashioned world of “job creation” that doesn’t really exist anymore.
I’ve seen this happen in my own life. I used to have the most steady, predictable “safe” job you could imagine, at a big employer with good benefits. We sometimes got to be creative and think of new ways of doing things, but for the most part every day was the same.
Ever since I decided to quit my job and launch a business as a full-time freelance writer, I’ve discovered a whole new outlook on life. I’m constantly adapting, learning, growing, and changing – finding new customers, finding new partners, finding an ever-shifting assortment of new “gigs” and projects. I work with people worldwide. I help solve problems for all kinds of organizations and all kinds of situations. I have created my own job, and it’s the best job I’ve ever had.
Is it “easy” to do this? No. Is it scary? Sometimes. But there’s nothing scarier than a false sense of “job security.” If you have an urge to start a business, the biggest risk you can take is to not take one. Start today. Create your own job. Be a job creator.