Today Everybody Is Self-Employed

The rules have changed. Today everybody is self-employed. Unfortunately, no one seems to know it.

Too many people think it is still a “Leave It to Beaver” kind of world. This was a time and place a long time ago where a great education and hard work were rewarded with an ever- improving lifestyle. They're wrong. The Beave is "dead."

I don't want to be too negative here, but the rules have changed.

Former Education Secretary Bill Bennett has a book on the subject, “Is College Worth It?" Daniel Pink talks about structural transformation in “A Whole New Brain.” He says we're moving from a left-brain to a right-brain economy. 

The future belongs to those who not only accept this reality, but embrace it.

The days are over where command and control of information and data was the key to your success. This is the old system. It's gone. Technology and the global economy killed it.

Consider any profession that requires a license – insurance, securities, real estate, accounting, law, medicine, etc. It use to be that a license provided “exclusive” rights to a market - and success. People had to come to the "designated pro" to obtain information and the products and services they controlled. This was a sweat deal. 

Not anymore.

Technology and the emerging economies of the 2nd and 3rd world have pulled back the curtain. Technology – the Internet – has changed everything. As a result, many professions that once offered exclusive or near-monopoly products and services are now nearly commodities.

Consider the securities industry. Not too long ago if you wanted to buy a stock you had to do everything through a stockbroker. He (there weren't many women then) made the rules, set the price, and controlled the information. It was classic “pay-to-play.”

Things have changed. Information about securities is now available 24/7 through many channels. Every financial company offers generally the same products and services. Modern software gives the novice through the expert the power to buy, sell and trade at will. Planning (information and knowledge work) can be outsourced to a third party in an emerging country at deep discount – a degree from Wharton goes a lot farther in Mumbai.

The future belongs to those who are smart and adaptable. The complacent will get crushed by those who know how to synthesize the billions of bits of information at their command into manageable “client” packets.

The truly successful will create niches and become masters of relationships and team building. They will manage behavior. Mundane and routine tasks will be outsourced and delegated to software and semi-skilled labor.

Get ready, it's a brave new world.

Today's economy is much more complex and challenging than the script I was given as a kid:

Get good grades, so you can
Attend a good college, and get a
Great job, where you'll work hard for 25 to 30 years, so you can have
A big pension, and
Retire comfortably for the rest of your life (to age 67).

By the way, how's that working out for you?

The rules have changed - you are self-employed, although you may not know it - yet. 

– Ted

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