As I often say, one frequently gets at least as much good information and food for thought from the comments to the articles on this site as one does from the articles themselves.
Less than a week ago (as I write this) Bob published an article of mine entitled Strategies For Supporting Yourself in the Philippines . If you haven’t read the post, I recommend you click the link and read the “Strategies” article first. Go ahead, we’ll wait *smile*
Some Very Good Points
I received a number of well-thought out reader comments to that article, including this one which I felt made so many good points and opened so many avenues of thought that it deserved it’s own article. If you are reading this, great, because that means Bob agreed with the interest level and published it.
The “Fire starter”
I received this excellent comment from reader Brent Johnson which I’ll address here. Brent’s words are in blue and set off in quotes. Thanks Brent.
If the days of “working for someone else” are truly gone, than the vast majority of the world’s population is screwed.
Well actually, they are pretty much screwed. Or not, depending upon what you mean by the “Majority of the world’s population. If you mean the “westernized” or developed countries like the USA, Canada, the European nations and Australia/New Zealand, then, indeed, I hold strongly that sticking to the “last century” model of going to a Teutonic, “learn by rote” educational system and then putting yourself at the mercy of a “care less” corporation or an economically unsound government “J*O*B mill” means the outlook is bleak, yes, I say it is.
However if you think of the world’s actual population? Not so much. The US (as one example) makes the most noise, but is by no means dominant in numbers. See the interesting circle? Already the inner circle is the majority of the world’s population and the imbalance is growing daily.
The scary part is, the “inner circle” now holds the mortgage on much of the outer circle, which is increasingly “underwater” on it’s obligations. Is the “Inner Circle” on the map more or perhaps less “screwed “ than the larger portion which as Americans we seem to think is still the center of the world’s economy?
Las year the BsP (Philippine Central Bank) started offering a new investment product .. Philippine Treasury Bonds denominated in Japanese Yen.
Why? Because the government of Japan is very uneasy about the huge amount of US Treasury bonds it already holds, and the debt ratio of the USA is absolutely scary compared to the excellent capitalization rate of the Philippines.
To many countries, investment in the USA is like buying “junk bonds” or buying investment products made up of toxic mortgages.
But Numbers Of People Isn’t Everything
Yes, that’s so. How about brains and talent and Education?
Let’s look at the percentage of post graduate college students in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) programs. Oh, about ten times as many Chinese as US students .. right in the USA itself.
In India, there are more students in Advanced Gifted and Talented programs than there are total students in the USA.
But the “outside the circle” countries are still the “world leaders”?
Open to opinion in my view.
My “anti-job” rant is directed mainly at “golden agers” like myself and my “avatar”, Joe, who realistically are never going to find a good job.
Would I give a 20-something person the same advice today? Probably not as forcefully (although I know plenty of 20’’-something and 30-something Westerners living here in Asia and doing quite well without a “conventional” J*O*B. But I would give that 20-something guy or gal the advice that the language they should be studying is Mandarin.
While it is nice to think that anyone with ambition, a business plan, and a bit of smarts can start their own business, I just don’t see how that is realistically sustainable. This would mean the world is comprised of billions of sole-proprietorships.
This is one of your points where I feel there’s a bit of logical fallacy. Your first sentence is exactly what I have been saying. Virtually word for word.
But the conclusion you draw is that this is in some way a bad thing, because it will lead to the whole world becoming a bunch of sole proprietorships. It’s a possible conclusion, but given the amount of variation in people and the choices they make, hardly the most probably outcome.
Seems to be exactly the opposite. Instead of following the herd on to the treadmill where it is assumed one will be “safe” (perhaps). And where it is also a virtual certainty that s/he can never really excel, my thought is, if one wants to play the lottery (and life is, indeed a lottery no matter what choices one makes), why not try for a win rather than a draw or even worse?
Because, “lucking out” and getting a steady, corporate job, and burning up the best years of your life to settle for whatever pension they give you is NOT a win. It’s a draw, at best.
Should we encourage everyone to “stay on the job treadmill” because if too many people take advantage of their true talents and start getting paid what they are worth, rather than what the “job market” dictates they are worth, they might somehow “collapse the economy” and lead to some economic catastrophe?
Fair enough if that’s your opinion but to me it seems a bit towards the “Don’t take a chance, follow the herd” sort of thinking.
Frankly, the economy is already in collapse.
Even for those who have a J*O*B.
- Take home pay is definitely shrinking year after year.
- Benefits? Going away faster than many commentators can create rants of protest.
- Retirement plans (one of the factors people often use to rationalize the “submission” to jobs rather than the uncertainties of entrepreneurship)? They are becoming a distant memory to thousands of workers every month.
About all I can say is, build something for yourself while you still can, or “Plan Accordingly”.
The Most Important Thing You Said, Brent, By Far:
In my opinion, the realistic solution for most people, even professionals is to keep on top of the skills and technologies that are most needed at any given time as to be both employable and indispensable at the same time.
It would be difficult for me to be more in agreement with this thought than I already am. And I would like to add to anyone reading these words .. young, old, Filipino, foreigner, advanced degree holder or high school dropout, whatever. Please read what Brent wrote above .. end then read it over again a time or two.
Ask yourself, no matter where your feeling are on this pro-job/anti-job discussion I got started here.
How am I applying this advice to myself?
Trust me, it’s wise advice that will pay off handsomely in the future. Wish I’d said it.