Lowbrow

In any job, staying detached keeps one’s perspective intact. That’s not such an easy trick because the sheer amount of time spent doing things for, and being with, other people will affect our thinking.

At the Bait & Switch shop, we workers are considered full-time with 35 hours per week, while managers and supervisors hack through 50.

Telling, that sentence. In order for a relatively responsible employee to take home a relatively livable sum of money, they must work 25% more than the standard work-week. Note that non-supervisory employees – me – do not make enough on which to live. That’s probably all I need to say about that.

The net effect of long hours, low hourly wages and a chronic lack of bodies on the floor means it’s easy to be rushed into losing sight of life. Think of a pressure cooker: heat and pressure cook faster than atmospheric methods, and more thoroughly.

None of that is happenstance. The Dodgy Brothers clearly dislike the idea of staffing for busy times; they’d much prefer to run everyone at the edge when it’s busy so that we’re merely fully occupied at other times. Just how this meshes with their “customer first” mantra is a mystery.

Like anyone, I have to keep this job from being too big to lose. Cobbling together any and all sources of income is the same as investment diversification, and at least as important. That requires constant awareness of and detachment from any one job.

Cobbling Together

What I thought might have been an original idea is proving less so.

We’re in the age – just beginning, really – of Cobbling Together our livelihoods. Jobs, investments, consulting, part-time gigs, income producing recruitment; all these will go into one big hopper with enough cash flowing out of the bottom to keep us afloat. Hopefully. The goal is to add enough assets (live and inanimate) so that we don’t have to go to work each day.

If we have skills that are in demand, we’ll likely still have a job to go to, one that will give us surplus cash for savings and luxuries. The number of arenas in which this is true will shrink, probably more quickly than you’d imagine. Which is why setting ourselves up for days containing more than one activity is the future.

Like Dan, a new colleague. He has a part-time sales job, a part-time IT job, his own IT customers and he delivers sailing yachts too. His is a textbook Cobbling Together life, one that he’s been working at for a couple of years at least. There’s nothing new under the sun…but it will be new to a lot of people in short order. Welcome to your world.

Microentrepreneurship

No more will there be career jobs. No more retirement parties. No more gold watches on your last day (if this ever happened at all.)

Fewer wasted days. Fewer years spent as a small cog in an unfathomable machine. Fewer opportunities noticed and missed.

Less inertia. Less living in a rut. Less tolerance of waste.

More change. More opportunity. More energy.

Greater flexibility. Greater distribution. Greater networks. Greater options.

I think it comes down to this: Instead of employers finding what they like about us – what they think will be of use to them – we’ll have no choice but to figure out how we can use our own talents and skills.

In other words, we will be the interview board. Every day. Every week. Every year. We’ll need to continually assess what we are able to to, or what we think we can productively try. Then we’ll find the tools to harness ourselves, for our own benefit.

This might mean a lot of small enterprises. It might mean 24/7 devotion to one big thing. For most of us it will likely mean a combination of employment, self-employment and micro-entrepreneurship. A patchwork of income. And no gold Rolex. Who wears a watch thesedays anyway?