A day may come when prosperity through jobs is taken for granted. During my lifetime, I saw the years 2000 – 2008 be such a time. More people were moving into and living in regally designed houses and apartments. Gated communities and condos were born quickly filled with people from all types of backgrounds with very good jobs. Sales in retail, services, entertainment, and automotive skyrocketed along with the stock market.
I believe there was an instinctive perception among many people that humanity had gone past physical struggle, hard labor, and even the industrial era. We were in an information age, a service age, a knowledge worker economy. Across many walks of life you could see evidence that society outgrew the “old ways”. Conveniences of many kinds and a true modern way of living was taking hold. Then it all crashed.
The truth about that crash is that many of us spent so much time acclimated to a different way of living we could not accept reality. When I look at some of the mindsets, decisions, and developments around that time and since, they come from seeing the world as it was. Some are still living that 2000 – 2008 reality but many of us long departed it. We cannot get back into it. Even if we did, the innocent uncritical acceptance of that reality is now beyond our capacity.
The High Salaries Are Not Coming Back
Thirty or fifty years from now, we may see a widespread condition of prosperity that we saw from 2000 – 2008. If it comes around again, most of us young or middle-aged now will not experience it as we might have otherwise. It sounds negative. It is realism, from the viewpoint of an individual who has glimpsed a summary of the near future in a Forbes.com article and sees such a future as the most likely outcome. The past prosperity seems like an illusion of the kind that occasionally comes around again one day but is unsustainable.
Be Solution Minded
I do not believe in complaints without solutions. When the jobs are not coming in force, the wages are going to be low for most of us, and the decision of business owners is to optimize away labor, what do you do? I have answers that are not quick but will work for some.
Corporate Success Rules
In corporate settings many years ago, I had mentors who taught me things. Every last one of them, without exception taught me two rules.
- Rule #1, there must be above average chemistry between everyone.
- Rule #2, you must communicate well and the content must be acceptable.
In simpler language, personality and communication skills. If you excel in personality and communication, you will succeed. The truth is everyone isn’t equipped this way or to the same level and so a small percentage out of millions of people will exercise the desired qualities to get ahead in the professional jobs that remain.
You can get a really good job. Employers have millions of people to choose from or a combination of alternatives in automation and flattened hierarchies. Even then, you can be involved. If you are going to work for an established organization, refer back to the Corporate Success Rules section above. Your next choice may be to start a business or work for the federal government. I started a business many years ago that taught me a lot, I also came close to federal employment several times.
I applied for Federal employment after the market crashed in 2008. I was fortunate enough to get a job offer in 2009 after months of applying. I turned down the federal job after I had already been working in a corporate job for a few weeks. I turned down the offer and then lost the corporate job a few weeks later. I made a bad decision. Anyway, I learned that you are extremely lucky if you get a federal job but the chance may never come again. Most of us, including myself, will not be qualified for most of the high paying federal jobs that are posted. You should see my rejection letters. It remains an option for many though and you may as well try when other options such as starting a business or working in an established organization seem more out of reach.
I have personal knowledge of places that have active and strong industrial employment opportunities in their communities. They are places that seem to have made a conscious decision to stay grounded in industries of an industrial, agriculture, education, retail, and general business services nature. They are communities that have held up very well over many decades. If you live in one of these communities, it may be one of the last great opportunities to experience what life was like in the heyday of industrialization. Refer back to the Corporate Success Rules section above for tips. I worked in industrial roles many, many years ago and they can be very steady jobs. They can also be one of the easiest to restructure to production demand.
Should the last hotspots of industrialization diminish and you are one of the great many outside the flow of the professional and federal opportunities that remain, then it seems you are destined for a different future. It is a future in which the government ensures your survival if you choose not to live off the grid or off the land. Many people are not taught or shown how to live independent of corporate work, business structure, transactional employment and practices that lead to monetary exchange in order to live. Those people, the 90% of us would then be inclined to embrace government assistance that staves of fear of the unknown.
The Politics of Government Dependence
Government assistance can be a good thing. The political messages against it may work for a variety of reasons. First, many of us want to succeed in a self-affirmative way. Running our own businesses or in leading positions in a company while earning a good salary. Government assistance then is described as a condition in which we are reminded that we failed. Second, it is possible that few really want to vote for government assistance when they feel prosperity through work is possible if but for the right leadership because otherwise, government dependence is the last thing standing between them and the “real” real world.