Who should create your next job?
An increasing number of people are answering this question by getting started as the boss themselves. The majority, however, stick to the LinkedIn jobs ads and hope beyond hope to find a spot that is cool and comfortable. Alas, such spots are currently few and far between. The wages offered by them are often derisory and the terms and conditions are sometimes onerous. And because of the huge volume of applicants, seldom is even an acknowledgement forthcoming – singularly disappointing for those who feel an urgent need to connect with any employer. For those in this precarious situation, what can be done about it?
The evolving job market
Corporate life is changing, faster now than ever before. The ‘job for life’ disappeared before the turn of the century and with it the apprenticeship schemes that were so valuable. They have since been increasingly replaced by mentors and coaches. That trend is indicative of who may find you your next job. No, mentors and coaches don’t generally find jobs for people, though they sometimes do. The answer to the question ‘Who should create your next job?’ may be you. Are you up for it? If you are, what resources do you need to help you on your way?
Let me tell you about my early experience working on farms. I wasn’t a child slave. I loved the work, the animals, the soil, the different phases of the year. Above all, I enjoyed the farm hands, seasoned, sometimes gnarled, incredibly wise men and women. They worked hard, long hours. Their discipline was their own standards. They needed no KPI to stretch every thought and muscle to do better. They gave me my first lesson in work standards and I have always been grateful to them for it.
Setting your own standards
They had direction, of course, and bosses – the usual mixture of good and bad. But it was the workers who taught me most. They set standards of quality more than speed, of detail more than strategy but they fed the UK during and after WWII. It gave me immense satisfaction to work hard all day, feel physically exhausted, have a splendid meal, read a little and sleep like Snow White. The rhythm of life was simpler then. There was no internet with its demanding calls for attention. The scale of operations was variable, too. A careful farmhand could save enough money to buy himself a plot of land and run his own smallholding in his later years. That’s how many new farms came about.
Today there are endless free and subsidised lessons and financial loans to help the start-up. For those who go to university there are teachings in every aspect of business, from creative concepts to financial enabling. New jobs appear every day as inventive technology creates better ways of doing things and new threats precipitate the needs for planet conservation. It took severe climate damage to make the solar panel industry a viable alternative to coal. Non-carbon producing energy has theoretically been available to us for thousands of years. It would have been a very acceptable alternative to men spending their lives underground in dangerous, health-ruining situations.
Creating jobs that didn’t exist before
Most of today’s inventions are fulfilling needs we didn’t even know we had until their solutions described the requirement. Those who would create their own job should watch these developments. They give useful clues to the ways in which personal gigs can be started. For example, the development of equipment and gyms to enhance exercise and health implies a need also for personal exercise and sports coaches. Then again, those aiming high in any of the professions or in business, need coaching and mentoring on a rapidly increasing scale. Many people make potentially excellent mentors and coaches. Food and hospitality have always offered opportunities for the adventurous, though too many try their hand with inadequate experience, business acumen or capital. These ventures are prone to failure. What can be done to increase their chances of success?
Passing on your knowledge
If you have an area of expertise, consider the opportunities you have for being a mentor-coach to those learning the speciality. Your rewards may have to be in terms of equity in their businesses but building a portfolio of your own is important to support you through old age. Being a mentor-coach also helps you keep up to date in the subject and fulfil that highly desirable objective of lifelong learning. Anyone creative can think for themselves of the likely developments arising from the VUCA world.
For a planet that has struggled for its existence with too little energy and a population that has felt equally deprived, things are changing. It is likely that we will have not just an abundance of energy but possibly too much in the future. Harnessing it will be the secret of making it a success. In the same way, a community capable of only intermittent and infrequent developments is giving way to the opposite – almost too many inventions, too quickly. The development of AI and the now massive computers capable of millions of calculations a minute opens up a prospect of a redesign of the race.
Time to be courageous, time to be self-employed
There has never been a time of such opportunity to be successfully self-employed. The markets for fragmented services – run by those with minimum overheads and therefore economically competitive – are developing daily. Learning to become a salesperson is not hugely difficult for most intelligent people. The gig economy is accepted as a valuable addition to the regular established service. All enterprise requires some courage. Given a little of that and a modicum of luck a self-started business should flourish.
For all that, the beauty of the butterfly will remain something whose measurements are irrelevant but whose infusion into a joyful life is beyond understanding.