rent dancing

wall st

Its as old as the hills. One way or another, as long as anyone can remember, men and women have been doing it, mostly with great difficulty. For most of us, the rent dance comprises doing anything and everything we can to provide food and shelter for ourselves, and our immediate family. In recent history this has meant having, getting or holding down a job. This little blip in human history is now drawing to a close.

Let me paraphrase what a  great teacher once said, ‘Before the industrial revolution, everyone was self employed. The industrial revolution is over. So the future is once again self employment. Start your own business!’

This may sound a little grand, or even downright terrifying. But it neednt be. Your business could be as humble as shining shoes or selling pancakes out of a wheelbarrow. The point is that there aren’t enough jobs to go round.

I’ll say that again. THERE ARE NOT ENOUGH JOBS TO GO ROUND! Ask any university graduate. World population is growing rapidly while job opportunities are decreasing, apparently in inverse proportion.

The reason for this need not concern us. Its just the way it is. In the UK in the last ten years, our abominable leaders, Gordon Brown and his former boss, boasted at every opportunity, again and again, how successful they had been at creating jobs and reducing unemployment.

What they neglected to mention is that a very high proportion of these ‘jobs’ were in the public sector. What they ‘created’ were more government departments, more committees and quangos, more government funded research facilities and think-tanks(sic), and so on, than ever before.

Apart from the sinister implications of so many people depending on the government for their daily bread, need I point out that the bill for all these living wages, pensions, retirement packages etc is footed by us, the humble taxpayer. On top of which we must also pay for all the ugly office buildings necessary to house all this inactivity.

There is no business model at work here. No aspect of the work(?) being done results in anything anyone might want to pay for. What we get is reports, recommendations, memos, analyses, charts and documents of all kinds. Millions upon millions of them. More forests than ever are being torn down to provide paper to print all this garbage on. More and more computers are bought and networked up, to be replaced every two years,  so that our hapless civil servants can surf the web, and dawdle on Facebook, when they are not sending each other inter-departmental memos.

Of course this is unsustainable and must stop. We expect large scale layoffs very soon. The good news is the opportunity to create and perform your own work is wide open. Which means the chance to actually feel good about what you do to earn a crust. For many this will be a first-time life-changing shift in attitude about their personal rent dance.

 Clearly not everyone is about to start their own corporation.  What everyone can do is figure out what they are good at, and what they are passionate about. Based on that, they can come up with something they can provide that enough people will be interested in paying for. It may be a product or a service. The most important thing is that it will be theirs. It will be the fruits of their work and they alone will reap the benefits.

For someone who has had one job or another all their life this is a daunting prospect. They dont have to do it alone. Partnerships or even small groups of people can be more effective and a little less frightening. But keep it small and personal.  

I am about to quit my job. What I have been doing falls into the government payroll category, albeit indirectly. I’m grateful for my time there, but enough is enough. Come October I’m on my own. I am lucky, as I have spent many years of my life working for myself, so I’m used to the ups and downs of self employment. Sure its scary, but the future is uncertain no matter where you are standing. I cant wait to have at it.

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