Formal Employment is a Myth


Over the last few weeks, I have been inundated with phone calls and emails from friends and colleagues most of whom have lost their jobs because of ‘the economy’.

Barring a few exceptions, I believe that most of them were worthy performers with commendable capabilities. Each of them had some worthy skills and unique talents. It was poignant however, when I saw them live a sense of amputated existence – in their minds and spirits.

This note, I dedicate to them and many others like them.

A formal employment gives, or at least is supposed to give three things:


  1. Job security
  2. Identity with a name card with title and a company name
  3. Monthly cash flow to sustain living expenses and/ or to create assets.

Job security: The very fact of closure of Lehman and lay-offs by GM, Microsoft and IBM only questions the very hypothesis of Job Security in salaried jobs today.

Identity: a name card and title does give us a sense of social status. Why would you not achieve the same if you start your own company and become the CEO or consultant? You have just given yourself a title and a job scope, which you have always wanted.

The other aspect of identity is a “company brand” or “revenues” of the company. Think about it – these top Wall Street banks just crumbled. General Motors and Chryslers reported pathetic performance, they just could not get a single act right. You sure are better than those CEOs. At least you did *not* depreciate public money. In your personal evaluation, your worth needs to be better than what you think by being an appendage to someone else’s.

Monthly cash flow is clearly the most rational reasoning and has a practical impact. We all need money, to run our homes, to eat food, to pay rents and pay for children’s education. If we were to calculate these with a level of practicality – just go back and check our current bank reserves and re-prioritize. I would reckon that most people in middle and senior management should be well off. In most cases, I have seen we can live well, without a job for 5-20 years, with fairly good quality of life style. Does that give you some confidence? I suggest you do this exercise and think about it. We are richer than we think and we are and far more capable than what we think we are.

Disclaimer:

The above view assumes that the ones who are laid off or made redundant are good performers and have enough capability in their respective field. It is presupposed that they have an intellect and potential which helped them in delivering success in their earlier jobs.

Needless to say, if I were the those good-for-nothing or someone who just counted the monthly pay checks into the bank without any performance or capability, then they were plain lucky to have been employed in the first place.

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