Even though I am only 34 at the time of writing this article, I have been along in the workforce and business space long enough to see a few cycles.
I grew up in the “milk and honey” days of the 90’s, had a great career in the early 2000’s and like many of us – got totally shafted during the GFC with the ongoing recession from there. I was unemployed for 6 months, lost all my life savings and interesting got “punished” badly for doing exactly what I was told too as a child would make me successful. That is, good grades, working hard, loving your boss, being dedicated to your company.
Only to get evicted out on the street and go from living a life style you are used too, to counting your pennies at a supermarket, trying to figure out how to have enough food, pay your rent and have some form of existence.
Now I am in my own business and have been for a while, I find myself looking back on what I endured and meeting great people just like me who are still trapped in situations which aren’t helping them or their families.
One large shift I have observed is how the rules of the workplace has changed great in the last few years (especially post-GFC). In my 20’s, it was more a “partnership” so to speak. Sure, you have a boss, you have to follow the rules and all that – but there was a lot more “give” allocated against the “take”.
As the world has changed, the workforce has become much more of a darker place and things are much more “master / slave” rather than “employee / worker” these days.
That is salaries aren’t what they used to be (relative to inflation and cost of living), there are just not enough jobs so employers know that people can get replaced easily and if someone is “taken out” or eliminated these days – human cost is just irrelevant. Perhaps I am seeing things more from a “Sydney, Australia” perspective – but at least my take on things.
Then you get some companies that defy the trend. I have met a few people from Google and it’s the best company on earth to work at and because of it’s reputation the running joke I hear (obviously founded in truth) is that it’s easier to become a cop or a solider than getting into Google. And last time I checked they weren’t doing too badly. During the “milk & honey” times where things weren’t as dark, positive thinking was rampant and I was on of those idiots following that cycle. The reality is that in today’s world, it’s all out the window and “realistic / negative” thinking seems to be the mode of choice by most of the successful people I know (i.e. not just talking money, health, relationships, morale etc).
I am not the first person obviously to say “don’t rely on your job” for income and please for a second don’t think I am about to launch into a “armway” pitch or anything like that. I am more coming from the point of view of the requiem of positive thinking for myself and many of us.
The world is tighter these days, so one must be more clever and astute to work and prosper in these times. To me, one must be wary of the dynamics of the “new Workplace” and ensure you don’t pretend everything is “wonderful”. That is, you understand what you are getting into, your benefits and penalties so when they day comes you get thown out, you are all prepared and ready to take action. Even better if you have a business on the side if you were like me trying to escape the modern slavery of the post-GFC workforce.
Don’t start me on hours too, I know great people who are earning about $50K / year and if they leave anytime before 7PM at night (after starting at 7AM) they get negative looks.
Am I saying become hippies and do 36 hour weeks? Of course not, but end of the stick is getting that much sharper and pointed. So if you are about to into the workforce, please take heed of my own failures and if you are stuck in the workforce please take notice of my own successes! There is way out, so keep at it in style!
Hope you enjoy this one, I love hearing stories about what other good people face, so feel free to drop me a line anytime!