Oct 11, 2011 3:33 PM GMT
After recently referring to Seth Godin’s blog as drivel, I’ll have to eat my words because he’s written an interesting post predicting what he calls “the forever recession.”
What’s the forever recession, you ask?
As Godin sees it, the Industrial Age has been totally overhauled by the Internet Era, streamlining jobs and transforming the work system as we know it. The new revolution, Godin claims, is “the revolution of connection,” and he’s right — if you can get over gagging at the New Age-y title. Laptops, he says, are the new factories (as a self-employed telecommuter, I am the new factory worker), and a patchwork career (multiple clients, multiple revenue streams, multiple tasks) is the new get-a-job-and-die-behind-your-desk way of working.
Godin says: "Job creation is a false idol. The future is about gigs and assets and art and an ever-shifting series of partnerships and projects. It will change the fabric of our society along the way. No one is demanding that we like the change, but the sooner we see it and set out to become an irreplaceable linchpin, the faster the pain will fade, as we get down to the work that needs to be (and now can be) done."
I went from unemployed to self-employed pretty quickly, and giving up on the idea of a “real job” is how I did it. At a certain point, I realized I was unemployable. What I’d add now is that I was only unemployable in the old system. Working the new system, I escaped becoming one of 14 million unemployed people, 6 million of whom have been unemployed for over six months.
Could you become terminally unemployed?
1. You’re too comfortable.
The problem with being a worker in the old system now is that you see no reason to change. Why would you? The old system is still working for you. Regardless, the transformation the workplace is undergoing is radical, and it won’t be returning to the way it used to be.
At the job from which I was downsized, the writing was on the wall for months. I could see it coming from a mile away. But I didn’t do much about it. It was easier to deny the obvious, to keep believing that, somehow, if I kept on doing what I was doing, it would all work out. Which did work out. Until it didn’t.
2. You’re a one-trick pony.
Over at Salon, Scott Timberg has written a mind-bogglingly misguided and misguiding piece that, in a way, posits the opposite of everything Godin sees. “The Creative Class Is a Lie” is Timberg’s long-winded and meandering whine on how media jobs are disappearing at an alarming rate and creative class entitlists who thought they would rule the world are now finding themselves unemployed or, worse yet, having to take on marketing gigs to pay the rent. Say it ain’t so!
Your career isn’t dying. It’s mutating. Those who have been beating a drum to the same old tune for years fail to see that it’s time to become a chimera or perish. It’s a range of skills that have saved me from the unemployment line.
3. You can’t get out of your own way.
Want to know “Why More Americans Suffer from Mental Disorders Than Anyone Else“?
Fellow Forbes blogger Alice G. Walton writes on TheAtlantic.com: "Ron Kessler, Ph.D., the Harvard researcher who headed much of the WHO’s mental health research, says that by and large people in less-developed countries are less depressed: After all, he says, when you’re literally trying to survive, who has time for depression? Americans, on the other hand, many of whom lead relatively comfortable lives, blow other nations away in the depression factor, leading some to suggest that depression is a “luxury disorder.”"
I didn’t get unemployment benefits. I didn’t get a severance package. One day I had a job; the next day, I did not. I struggled with anxiety, depression, and a host of related issues, but I knew that I had to do something or I would sink. Being unemployed is miserable. Blame the economy, blame the President, blame the country. Or make sure you’re not the one who’s keeping you unemployed.