I think the whole landscape of personal income has been completely revolutionized over the past 5-10 years, and I don’t think reality has caught up to the average person yet.
Here is why:
Recently, a colleague of mine announced that she was leaving her position at the company, and all of our colleagues got severely surprised. Leaving her job seemed liked such a bold, and even irresponsible move to some of them – primarily because she didn’t have a concrete alternative job offer. This, in itself, speaks to the fact, that people has not yet realized how insanely fragile and temporary regular jobs has gotten today, however, they are still living in accordance with the belief from the 50’s, that you should work in the same factory all of your life.
Innovation and technology are now eating up regular jobs day by day, piece by piece – and faster than ever. This means, from now on and in the future, the job of the humans will be to do some optimization and modifications of whatever the robots are doing, put a human touch on a process, and then get out of there as quickly as possible. A much greater sense of volatility in the job market is to be expected, and only more so as time goes on.
The very great news is I don’t think our options for providing for ourselves are worse now than before – quite the contrary – as long as we manage to adapt. We will just have to accept the fact that the income of our lifetime will be coming in from many more streams than before, and that requires us to take a greater deal of responsibility for ourselves.
The ways in which the average person can now generate income has exploded via endless services that have sprung up on the internet recently, and there is a seriously broad catalogue of income streams to choose from. Of course, one can still take a job and see how long that will last. But now, you can also drive your own car for money, rent out your apartment, write a blog and use Adsense, take care of a pet, work as a mechanical turk, fill out surveys, buy stocks on your computer, sell your old crap or sell any service you like for 5$ a piece or do a quick bid on a gig on one of the many “gig-sites” there are out there. These are just the options I can mention off the top of my head. I’m sure there is a million others ways out there.
The message is that any dummy can make money without a boss now. All you need is to start, experiment and see what works best for you.
To be completely honest, it is very difficult to make a satisfying living on the internet, without embarking on a crazy entrepreneurial adventure. But what I am saying is, that it is now within everyone’s reach to ensure, that they don’t die from starvation, while not being at the mercy of a boss in a big company. We have so much more solutions to the same problem today.
This is where the responsibility for our own fate comes in. Now, more so than ever, we need to make sure, that we cut expenses, avoid bad (or any) debt, and handle our personal finances conservatively. This is how we can know that the new world of personal income will sustain us. We cannot finance crazy investments any longer, like grandiose house purchases or uneconomical cars. Items like that should only be bought when there is no longer a shred of a doubt about our ability to afford them.
The 21st century promises an exciting time ahead, where jobs, income, and entrepreneurship is much more democratized, decentralized and on our terms. But nothing will neither be given out for free any longer. We will be completely responsible for every cent that we earn, and that is both freeing, motivating and scary as hell. Financial success will be even more available to the person who is willing to work hard in the 21st century. And it will be accomplished in many new and exciting ways, that we still can’t even imagine yet.