Careers: An Invention of the 20th Century (Pt. VI)

April 27, 2009

What Does This Mean To You?

Does this mean that you have to go back to school or switch your current major to business? Should you do what I did and go buy real estate?

Probably not, although having some business knowledge under your belt is very helpful. And real estate can be one of the best long term ways to make sure that you are financially stable.

What I’m talking about is bigger than just financial security to you. It’s much more important than that. What I’m talking about is knowing your strengths, passions, and desires, and then crafting a life around those.

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The beautiful thing about the age we live in is that it’s never been easier to begin building a life that has both the long term financial security we seek and the thrill of doing something we actually want to do.

In my coaching program, we explore what this means to you. We hone in on your passions, dreams, skills and talents, and then work on a plan to help you live those things out. If you’d like to know more about this unique coaching experience, click here.

Summing It All Up

We are in the midst of the next major work revolution. How we work and what we know will be very different very soon. Companies and corporations are getting slimmer and trimmer, and they will do whatever it takes to stay competitive, including massive layoffs without warning and outsourcing, .

If you are under the age of forty, this should be something that you’re very concerned about. You must realize that it is extremely risky to put your faith in the system and establishment of the corporate world

And finally, you should begin to formulate a plan of action so that you are able to control how you make your living, a plan that doesn’t rely on an employer. It starts with knowing yourself, and then progresses to actionable steps to ensure that you will never again have to be at the mercy of someone else.

If you don’t know how to begin or feel overwhelmed by this, please contact me right now so that we can see if my coaching program is right for you.

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Careers: An Invention of the 20th Century (Pt. V)

April 27, 2009

The Return of Purpose

Not only do I believe that this lifestyle choice is critical to our long term financial life, I believe that something happens deep within us when we choose the road less traveled.

We come to life.
We connect with what it means to be a fully functioning human being.
We discover that our story is more amazing than we ever realized.
We discover the epic that was lying in wait.

When we make the decision to launch out and break from what’s “normal,” the world begins to change. It takes on a different glow. The same things you’ve looked at a million times suddenly look more meaningful and logical.

Yeah, we’ll make mistakes on this course. We’ll get lost and hurt and scared. But we’ll experience highs and thrills that are unmatched on the “safe” and “traditional” path. And the further we go and the harder we push, the closer we get to discovering that most amazing of discoveries.

Our real life.

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The Rebirth of The Entrepreneur

Maybe this picture of the future seems very unlikely to you. It’s possible that you already have a pretty good idea of what your future holds. You might be in a really good situation, something that you know beyond a shadow of a doubt has a good future.

But maybe you don’t, which is more likely.

question mark

About five years ago, I began to realize that this is where our world was heading. I was working as a graphic designer in a medium-sized corporation in Pittsburgh, and it was a dead-end.

I knew I needed to make a change, so I began looking into buying houses to fix up and resell. I didn’t know a thing about business, but I was determined to make things work. My life, my family, and my future depended on it.

Since that time, I’ve discovered that the entrepreneur’s journey is something amazing. It is an adventure, full of both good and bad; hard times and rewarding times; abundance and scarcity.

I believe that to survive in the world that is right around the corner, we must move back towards living an entrepreneurial life.

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Careers: An Invention of the 20th Century (Pt. IV)

April 27, 2009

We Must Change

It’s time to rethink our formula. It just won’t work in this new future.

We can no longer plan on coming out of college and getting good jobs right away, at least ones in our field. And if we do get those jobs, what are the chances – really – that we will actually have the opportunity to realize that career path that has been laid out before us? Are you willing to bet your life on that in the cold, cutthroat world of bottom line?

We’ve been told to go to school, get good grades, get a good job. The end, right? But as we’ve discussed here, that’s an old and outdated model. So, what to do?

schoolbooks

Our society has trained us to be worker bees. Cogs in the machine. But in the future landscape, the machine will break down. Our institutional thinking will leave us broken down as well.

What we must do is change our minds and attitudes about our work and life. We must loose our entitlement mentality and replace it with something much larger and healthier. We need to dip back into our past to change our future.

We adapt.
We fall in love with learning and growing.
We quit taking life for granted.
We become epic.

We need to shift our focus away from being worker bees buzzing around a hive that is sitting at the edge of a rotting branch.

We’ve seen that for thousands of years, people were entrepreneurs, running their family business or small skilled labor shops. Then, during the 20th century, the whole model of work was thrown on its head. And now, in the 21st century, that’s happening again, and we’re all right in the middle of this shift.

If we want to continue to lead the kind of lives that we’ve become accustomed to, then we’re going to have to build our own business. We cannot and should not rely on an employer to take care of us. That ship has sailed.

But what does this look like? Should we all plan on renting out a space on Main Street and selling cookies or fixing flat tires?

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Use What You’ve Got

Some of us will choose to do just that. We’ll always need bakers and mechanics and delivery people. I’m not suggesting that these things won’t be around in twenty years.

What I’m talking about is knowing your gifts and then taking action to position yourself in such a way that when someone needs the service or product you provide, they automatically know that you’re the one to see.

1-bee

In this new future, it will be in our best interest to know and understand our niche. We must learn to become the expert at whatever it is we love, know, and do, and then build a business around that.

In my opinion, this is the only sustainable course for our lives. While it is a harder path initially to take, in the long run it is one that offers much more freedom and security than being a worker bee.

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Careers: An Invention of the 20th Century (Pt. III)

April 27, 2009

The Myth of Career

I’ve noticed something about the way we do our life.
We are in love with formulas.

We believe, often in vain, that if we have a formula, a ten step plan, then our lives will be wonderful. We will be content and fulfilled.

formula

I’ve noticed that because of the way that the 20th century changed how we live and work, there is a formula that we believe still is relevant.

This formula is something that Robert Kiyosaki talks about in his book Why We Want You to Be Rich and Rich Dad, Poor Dad

Go to school
Get good grades.
Go to college.
Get a good job.

But as Kiyosaki states, this formula, like the model of a safe, wholesome corporation, passed away with the 20th century.

Over the next twenty years, the landscape of America is going to shift dramatically. The way we’ve done things is and will continue to be rethought and reworked, and if we aren’t paying attention, I believe we (thirtysomethings and younger) will be in a world of hurt.

The truth is, we better be working on a different formula.

Slip Sliding Away

So how will things change, how will they look, and what can we do today to change and accept where we are heading?

We have already seen the first signs of a dramatic shift. We’ve seen (and possibly experienced firsthand) the downsizing and outsourcing. I’ve heard it said that if you haven’t been or don’t know someone who’s been let go because of “streamlining” or “downsizing” then you probably are fresh out of college and new to the work place.

Up until very recently, the United States has been the strongest and most economically robust nation the world has ever seen. But, again, the balance is shifting. The US is losing its jobs at an unprecedented rate to foreign countries, especially China and India. The value of the dollar is falling while the price of everything, especially oil, is skyrocketing.

What is happening before our very eyes is nothing less than the disappearing of the middle class in the US.

No One Else Will Do It For You

Because of our 20th century model of work and life, we have been trained to believe that we are entitled to good jobs, good pay, security, and respect. It’s just something we deserve.

But that’s not the way the real world operates.
While that may have worked in the past, it won’t work in the future.

The world of the future is a place where success means being adaptable and innovative. It means realizing that the only real security in the workplace is in the skills, talents and knowledge that you possess.

Your most valuable asset in the future is your individuality and ability to distinguish yourself from the crowd. Yes, this is important now, as well as the future, but in the new landscape, your value will come not from the piece of paper you have from your college, but from the way that you implement and customize the knowledge and experiences you’ve acquired.

As corporations continue to get streamlined and lighten their loads, there will be fewer and fewer good jobs available. Jobs that are available will pay barely enough to provide any kind of lifestyle other than one of just squeezing by, living paycheck to paycheck.

Does that sound like the kind of life you want to live?
Neither do I!
So what do we do?

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Careers: An Invention of the 20th Century (Pt. II)

April 27, 2009

Setting Sale For Corporate Safety

Why would people decide to quit working at a business that had been in their family for generations in favor of a large company that they had no connection to?

Easy, stable money.
Running a business is hard work. Ask any entrepreneur.

As our society shifted towards the easy money big business provided, we began to get very used to the comfort and perceived security that these business provided.

Old buildings

And during the 1950’s, when corporate life was settling in as the norm, people craved security, comfort, and consistency. They had just come through a very long and difficult war (WWII), and prior to that, The Great Depression.

So the corporate model was very appealing in that if a person desired, they could simply plug themselves into a giant machine – become a cog – instead of dealing with the trials and fluctuations of owning and operating their own business.

But was this a deal with the devil?

Rockin’ The Suburbs?

Fast forward to today. Our world is ruled by corporations. Our governments are in bed with the biggest and the richest. We build cities and communities around them. We take out massive loans and then spend the best years of our lives working to pay those loans off just to be able to stock these companies.

And for what?
The suburbs?

Look, I’m not saying work isn’t important. I’m not saying a job isn’t necessary, because we all have to pay bills and have food.

I’m also not putting down our great grandparents, grandparents, and parents for their work ethic and life decisions. We all have choices to make that we feel are best for our families. In the case of our great grandparents and grandparents, this industrial revolution was a new and exciting direction, one full of promise and stability.

What I question is the horrible systems that we seem to believe are necessary for our survival, systems that we accept and exist within that are corrupt, dehumanizing and destructive.

Systems that are meant to control you and strip you of the very essence of your humanity.

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The Dirt Speaks

As human beings, our very nature is to discover, to question, to explore, and to create. We are happiest and most content when we are free to pursue these desires.

Up until the 20th century, we were hunters and fishermen and farmers and pioneers. We spent our lives setting out for new lands and charting the earth and discovering new ways to live in freedom.

Hands in dirt
We sunk our hands into the fresh dirt and felt the cool air on our face as we watched the sun come up over the mountains. We felt and listened to our world, and in these encounters, we discovered something of utmost importance.

We discovered ourselves.

The New Corporate Landscape

But here we are now, at the dawn of the 21st century, and we seem to be more lost and unsure of ourselves than ever before. We are no longer living in our grandparent’s version of the corporate world that offers stability and the image of security.

The corporate world we live in has become all about the bottom line, and I think most of us recognize that, even if we are working for one. We won’t kid ourselves. We know that the gold watch for our 50 years of loyal service to the same company is now a myth.

We will never know pensions. Downsizing and outsourcing, yes. Pensions, not likely unless you are working for the government.

Our reality is that we will change careers five to seven times in our life. Not just jobs within our field of expertise. Careers!

Our world is one where we will always be networking and keeping our feelers out, because the fact is, in today’s corporate landscape, tomorrow is not promised. Just ask the former employees of Enron or General Motors or the thousands of other companies that canned major portions of their workforce to “stay competitive and streamlined.”

For much more on the current and future corporate landscape, I would highly recommend the book Why We Want You to Be Rich by Donald Trump and Robert Kyosaki.

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Careers: An Invention of the 20th Century

April 27, 2009

Building The Hive

Recently I saw the movie “Into The Wild.” There were many quotes that stuck out to me, but this one was most memorable:

“Careers are an invention of the 20th century.”

Up until the 20th century, our work model was mostly one of small business, handed down from generation to generation. Farming, smithing, and specialty stores were primarily the way we sustained ourselves.

Of course there has always been the government to employ people, but even this was a much trimmer version of the bulky and bloated bureaucracy we find today.

What Happened?

railroad_tracks

In a word, railroads. Railroads in the late nineteenth century, like the Internet in the late twentieth, opened up the world to possibilities that could never have been considered previously. And like the Internet, entire businesses and industries sprang into existence simply because of the expanded possibilities and connections.

Around the turn of the century, commerce and production began to explode. With the invention of the assembly line, industrialists began to streamline their operations to work faster and produce more, which in turn required more hands.

Time and scheduling became much more precious and important. The need for resources, particularly steel – and in turn, coal – created some of the most powerful and influential capitalists in the history of the world, men and women who’s influence is still very much alive today.

These capitalists – Carnegie, Rockefeller, and Ford, to name a few – forged ahead, building their empires. To build these empires, they needed help. Lots of help.

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Building Empires

They moved into cities like Pittsburgh, New York, Chicago, Detroit, and built giant buildings in central locations where people could come to work.

And this was revolutionary. Farmers and barbers and blacksmiths began leaving their trades to move into the cities to work in factories and offices for better and more stable wages.

pyramidSomething amazing was happening. Competition in this new era was creating jobs at an unprecedented rate. New technologies were spawning new businesses which in turn created more jobs and more opportunity. The world, especially the United States, was exploding, screaming into the future at incredible rates of speed and direction.

And the men and women at the top of these pyramids got richer and more powerful.

The Tipping Point

As this new world grew, many people’s lives were changed for the better. These corporations were overall a good thing. Yes, there was abuse (child labor, poor working conditions, etc.) but with any large movement there is evolution and refinement.

By the 1950’s, the vast majority of the United States had adjusted and conformed to the industrial revolution. It was a time of prosperity and abundance for many. At large, the population had been transformed from scattered farmers and sole proprietors to offices with middle management.

It was a radical and speedy shift for a society that had been doing things one way for so long. And while on the surface things looked like they were going well, there was something more sinister happening in the dark halls of those downtown steel towers, and more importantly, in the fabric of our lives.

(Cont…)


The Law of Reciprocity (Pt. iii) – Forrest Gump Style

April 24, 2009

For those of you living under a rock, “Forrest Gump” is a movie starring Tom Hanks as a simple guy who has a low IQ but leads a remarkable life.  All his life he’s been told that when he’s confused or scared or hurt, he should run.  Running got him into college football.  It got him a Purple Heart in Vietnam.  And in a scene towards the latter part of the movie, it gets him one of his many harvests.

Forrest Gump’s running scene is the law of reciprocity in action, and he doesn’t even know it.

He has just had someone extremely close to him hurt him bad.  She’s left him, and he’s standing on his front porch in Alabama, staring down his driveway.  He steps off his porch and says “so I decided to go for a run.”  He runs down to the end of his driveway.  Then down the street.  Then across town.  Then across the county, then the state, then to the Atlantic ocean, and then to the Pacific.  He starts running back and forth across the country, and in the process is unintentionally scattering the seed that is unique and individual to him.

He’s running for days and months all by himself, obscure and alone.  Although I think he would tell you that it was great and enjoyable, it represents the time of toiling and groundbreaking that must take place to sow a harvest of magnificent and exponential beauty.

So he’s running back and forth.  Eventually people begin to notice his seeds that are now springing from the ground.  Some begin to follow him.  People keep trying to ask him why he’s running, but he says very little.  So they decide that he’s running for charity, or that he’s trying to attract attention for world peace.  They begin to develop all kinds of reasons – personal, political, spiritual – but he doesn’t say much and just keeps running.

Along the way, he becomes the inspiration that a few entrepreneurs needed to hit it big.  And more and more people join him.  Finally after more than three years, he stops running, tells everyone he’s pretty tired, and goes home, leaving several dozen people wondering what they were supposed to do from there.

So Forrest Gump began this trek out of the passion and uniqueness that had simply become a major part of him.  He already had his seed.  As he ran back and forth, in effect tilling the ground, he scattered that seed, and all kinds of things began to spring up.  It was completely organic and simply overflowed from a place within himself that struck a chord with many other people.  He had the right seed in the right soil at the right time.

And if he wanted to, at that point he could have done any number of things.  He could have written a book or started a foundation or branded himself and become a spokesman for a cause or agenda, like some of the people thought.  The fields were bursting with the sweet aroma of harvest.

And this brings us to the last part of this law – the receiving.  Oddly enough, this is where many people miss it.  When the harvest is ripe – and there is a perfect time – it needs to be gathered.  But even if we’ve sown the right seed and tilled the ground and kept the fields parasite and weed free, our attitude at this point can render all this activity moot.

There are two ways we can sow, give, receive and harvest.
The first is from a position of fear and lack.
The second is from a position of faith and abundance.

The first position, like I touched on with Scrooge McDuck, sows with an attitude of simply taking and hoarding.  This attitude says that there is only a very limited amount, and whatever I get, I’m going to hold tight to it because I may never get any more.  I’m going to store and store.  There may be some giving in the process, but it’s a self-serving kind of giving – giving simply as a means to an end to get back.

When a person sows and reaps with the fear and lack mentality, they actually end up missing many, many opportunities for a greater and richer harvest because they are so focused on their own end results and self-preservation.  The person operating in fear and lack has a steady flow of people walking up to their door, but they are sent away, because that person fears they will take their harvest when it’s full.  They fear that if they share their crop, there won’t be enough to go around.

In contrast, the person operating in faith and abundance gives away as much as is reasonable, because they know that as long as they have a good harvest, some of those people will tell their friends, and they will tell their friends, and it will become something that is exponential and effortless.  It will have no choice but to multiply.

There’s a story in the Bible that illustrates this perfectly.  Jesus tells a story about three servants who are entrusted with different amounts of money (called talents) by their master.  One is given five talents, one is given two, and the third is given one, “each according to his own ability.” The master leaves.  The first servant takes his five talents and makes five more.  The second takes his two and makes two more.  The third servant takes his and buries it in the ground.

When the master returns, he asks for an account of what the servants have done with what he’s entrusted them with.  He’s pleased with the first and second servant, but angry with the third.  He takes the talent from the third and gives it to the servant who ended up with ten.  Then he banishes the servant from his service, calling him wicked and lazy.  He says, “To everyone who has, more will be given…but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away.”

I read a really good commentary on what Jesus means by this story, and how it is part of the law of reciprocity.

**If you use what is given to you, you will gain more.  If you fail to use what is given to you, you will lose even what you think you have.  Whether in physical, intellectual, financial, or relational dealings, whatever is given to you, however small it is, use it.  Use it diligently and on an ever increasing scale.  Set goals to increase whatever you do. “**

The difference between operating out of fear and lack as opposed to faith and abundance is a little like having the choice between the luxury car or the beater.

When we’re sowing out of a giver’s mentality, we are entitled to the luxury car.  Yet because we often are seeing through the eyes of lack and poverty, when it comes time to harvest, we choose the beater, even if we are giving.

Conversely, when we operate from a standpoint of a getter, we can only have that beater, but we go ahead and claim the luxury car.  Then we get angry when we get neither.

So the Law of Reciprocity looks like this:

  1. Operate out of an attitude of faith and abundance, not fear and lack.
  2. Have seed of great substance; seed that is unique only to you; that is packed with core and fundamental value and content.  Every chance you get to give this seed away, do it.
  3. Know the seasons, the soil, and the prime location
  4. Toil and work the land, overcoming and persevering at all costs
  5. Be patient and faithful to the vision and the harvest.
  6. At the proper time, reap and receive.  And then give it away again.

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To see more writing like this, check out my book, The Human Code

** Spirit Filled Life Bible, p. 2008