If you don’t know James Altucher, I recommend that you check him out. He’s one of my favorite thinkers/truth tellers. I may not agree with everything he says, but I respect his ability to see the world … and translate reality into words that help me acknowledge changes, even (and especially) when I really don’t want to.
Here’s the write up on his book, “Choose Yourself“.
The world is changing. Markets have crashed. Jobs have disappeared. Industries have been disrupted and are being remade before our eyes. Everything we aspired to for “security,” everything we thought was “safe,” no longer is: College. Employment. Retirement. Government. No longer is someone coming to hire you, to invest in your company, to sign you, to pick you. It’s on you to make the most important decision in your life: Choose Yourself.
This is scary stuff. You mean, if my kids go to college and work hard, they might not get a good job? Maybe this reality doesn’t surprise you. Maybe your family knows this first hand, maybe your neighbor or your work colleague. Altucher tells us that:
New tools and economic forces have emerged to make it possible for individuals to create art, make millions of dollars and change the world without “help.”
There are people out there doing just that. I hear a lot of negative things about 20-somethings. They don’t ‘fit in’ the workplace. They don’t have a good ‘work ethic’. Look at the You Tubers ** and social entrepreneurs, two examples of how to do it differently. But more importantly, look at all the people who are ‘doing it their own way.’ There’s not a formula, not a single path to finding this ‘freedom’. What we know is that disruption is a way of life for us. And we can either complain about it or we can capitalize on it. For more inspiration, read this story about a young man who went his own way.
The biggest problem with going my own way is that there isn’t anyone outside myself saying, “good job.” There’s no boss. Families often don’t understand what we are doing when we don’t conform to the “old way.” We don’t get society’s approval of our path. The ‘good’ way is to go to high school, go to college, get a job, get married, etc. Many of us don’t fit that mold. And somehow, we need to understand that whether we succeed (whatever that means) or fail, if you walk the road less traveled… you make people uncomfortable. People are afraid of what challenges their security. If you need approval, you’ll probably have an unsettled time. If you don’t need approval, welcome to the club. I approve of your journey… and I hope you’ll approve of mine.
** Full disclosure – My daughter Jenna Marbles is featured in this video.
Eric MajchrzakMarch 9, 2016
Hi Deb – How does this new paradigm affect the corporate structure? I’m thinking that companies need to develop “start-up” cultures, and blow up the traditional management structure/hierarchy. Do you agree?
DeborahMarch 9, 2016
Eric, That’s a great question. I think that corporations are going to need to be reinventing their structures. We see some great ‘old’ companies – like Kodak or Hewlett Packard whose products have waned simultaneously with the broader business changes. (We saw other companies literally disappear Borders and other booksellers.) Whether the disruption is causing employees to need to be independent and not ‘follow’ the regular path or whether they are two separate changes coming to the fore at the same time, (along with the globalization of the economy) – is for someone else to figure out.
I can say from what I see, employees are not as content with ‘corporate’ life as they used to be and radical changes in the way we hire, assign work, pay and promote employees is going to be important. I keep trying to find an industry where disruption isn’t coming… yours may be one. But I think the financial sector is ripe for change. Interesting times. What do you think?