Updated: 6 days ago
March 16, 2020, which many already call "Black Monday", marked the largest stock market crash in history. Crashes often cause a recession or - in the worst cases- a depression. In 2008 we experienced the last Great Recession, where we saw the collapse of major financial institutions, entire industries, and smaller companies around the world. It was a time of massive job loss, corporate downsizing, and perpetual uncertainty. Jobs were being outsourced, automated, or completely eliminated. And it redefined the way we worked forever.
Cracking the Job Security Myth
"Some people think self-employment is risky, but the real risk lies in deriving your security from an external source." - Chris Guillebeau
"Security" used to be a romantic notion of a guaranteed future. People would pledge their loyalty to a company for 20 to 40 years in exchange for medical benefits, vacation time, and a retirement plan. Many people bought into this idyllic exchange and worked for decades for a faceless company; missed most of their children's lives; worked during their partners' time off; battled declining health; and often never made it to the coveted "retirement" finish-line. They chased the promise of a pension and a paycheck, dangling like carrots at the end of a 40 year-long stick. People sacrificed their health, satisfaction, sanity, and their dreams...in the name of job security.
But with the last economic collapse, we saw just how fragile "job security" really is, and it gave us all a chance to step back and decide what really mattered. The fantasy of a pension and a paycheck in exchange for volunteered servitude became less appealing and less practical. People were being laid off by the hundreds of thousands. Many people's promises of financial security crumbled overnight. Fiercely-guarded nest eggs cracked unexpectedly. The chances of having a "job" with guaranteed salary and benefits are diminishing. Old work models were either being eliminated, outsourced, or automated to preserve the company's bottom line.
General MacArthur said, "security is your ability to produce." Security today is not likely to come from a job, a company, or the government. It comes from knowing what it is you do well that adds value to others. The opportunities have not disappeared; they just look different. The severe shock to the workforce in 2008 fueled a surge in entreprenuership, and it is likely to do the same as we face the economic impact of COVID19.
Change Can Be Scary
"Change can be scary, but you know what's scarier? Allowing fear to stop you from growing, evolving, and progressing." -Mandy Hale
Henry David Thoreau explained that "the mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation...and go to the graves with their song still in them." This "divine discontent" , this nagging sense of restlessness is prompting you to take a fresh look at where you are and where you're going. Meaningful, purposeful, profitable work integrates your personality, your talents, and your experiences to serve the customers, the causes, and the communities you care about.
Change can be scary. But it is also exactly what we need to shake us out of apathy, and shatter the monotony of a mediocre life. Most of us have two lives: the life we live, and the unlived life inside of us. Complacency keeps us trapped in the life we've come to know; but change comes to jolt us awake and brings us back to life. It's an invitation to a new adventure.
Each transition point in our life gives us a fresh opportunity to realign our daily activities with our deepest values, to grow continued maturity, and contribute deeply. It's never been easier to define new work models that allow for increased time, freedom, and income.
Prepare For The New Normal
"Entrepreneurship is the way we take control of our lives in a tough economy." -Lori Greiner
You are not going to wait on your future. You are going to plan it.
You Can Do What You Love "The only way to be truly satisfied is to do great work. And the only way to do great work is to do what you love." - Steve Jobs In any economy, it pays to know your calling. This is the work you were "born to do". A calling, or vocation, requires you to identify the intersection of your personality, talents, experiences in order to create fulfilling, meaningful, purpose-driven work.
You Can Become Financially Sustainable "Entrepreneurship is about turning what excites you into capital, so you can do more of it and more forward with it." -Richard Branson Entrepreneurship gives you control during times of uncertainty. And today, it is easier than ever to create a profitable businesses that are scalable and sustainable. And you don't need an MBA or tech skills. All you need is a laptop, an internet connection, and an idea.
You Can Turn It Into a Force for Good "We're in business to create a better tomorrow. If we live for one another, together we can change the world." -Blake Mycoskie Social entrepreneurship gives you a model to turn your work into a force for good. It is the perfect blend of purpose and profit, and it allows you to use your greatest strengths to bring a positive change in the world. One person can make a difference.
Doing work that matters is satisfying. It doesn't mean you will never face challenges or mistakes along the way - because (spoiler alert) you absolutely will. But it is satisfying because a strong sense of purpose will propel you through those mistakes and missteps. This will help you navigate the inevitable and perhaps unwelcome transitions in your life, in order to create something that brings meaning to your life and the lives of others.