Some questions answer themselves

To schedule, or not to schedule, that was the question.

Whether t’was nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of only publishing when there was something to say, or to take on more work that matters in search of more worth saying and publishing on a consistent schedule.

To sleep, perchance to dream—ay, there’s the rub. For a long overdue encounter surfaced what dreams may come, when we have have shuffled off the mask of fear, finding ourselves feeling peers of those whom we look up to.

Thus all becomes clear. We can call ourselves what we like, but we are only that which we do. Can the poems, it’s scheduling time.

Wherever there is any doubt, there is no doubt.

That’s the first thing they teach you.

Surf’s Up! Are you ready to be truly independent?

Or are you going to keep your head in the sand?

About 20 years ago, the democratization of the world wide web enabled those ready to launch a fresh start and leverage technology to make new names for themselves do so. And they rode that early adopter wave all the way to the bank.

The next wave is coming our way now. Technology is eating away at the many of the most common jobs in America today. Retail sales people, cashiers, fast food workers, customer service, commercial drivers—everywhere technology can replace a human, it does.

If you want to be ready to capitalize on the next wave, you should be reading up on the Gig or Freelance economy and figuring out how to diversify your income away from a single job. Because those days are coming to and end for most of us.

Call bullshit if you want, but in the last 50 years, we’ve gone from being able to step into a lifetime career path with benefits and pension right out of high school, to needing a college degree for a part-time job with none of the above.

Let’s look at some simple numbers. The US Department of Labor that says the total, seasonally adjusted workforce in the United States in 2016 was 123,760,000 people.

You know what the #1 most common job in America was in 2016? Retail sales.

You know what the #2 most common job in America was in 2016? Cashier.

#3 was food services, including fast food (but not waiters/waitresses).

Waiters, waitresses, customer service reps, general laborers, registered nurses, secretaries, general clerks, and janitors rounded out the top 10.

How many of those jobs come with benefits like health insurance or paid time off? How many of those jobs do you think are impacted by self-checkout kiosks?

If you take out the RNs and decently-paid administrative assistants, that leaves 25,125,900 people in those jobs. Divide that total workforce and you get 20.3%. That’s an awful lot of experience for high school kids, but I digress.

According to Intuit’s 2020 Report, more than 40% of the US workforce will be “contingent” by 2020 (and traditional, full-time jobs will be harder to find, as more than 80% of corporations already plan on shifting to contract-based work).

Think about that for a minute. Eight of the top 10 most common jobs in America in 2016 represent 20% of the total workforce. And by 2020, more than double that number will be “independent contractors.”

The tide is coming in. If you wanna wax up your board and surf with us, I think we’re going to have a good time. We’ll finally get to decide what we do for a living and when—but only those of us who are prepared and ready to go when the surf’s up.

I can’t get ready fast enough, but I’m going to help as many as I can while we still have time.

Here’s to the future.

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When you figure it out: perception is reality

See also, baggage, damaged goods.

I realized something in a chat with an old colleague today.

Spend enough time in an abusive, unprofessional workplace and your confidence will take a hit. Maybe you were gaslighted by incompetent management so disorganized they don’t remember the marching orders they gave you the week before. Maybe they actually threaten you with bodily harm.

Maybe you should have stayed where you’d been previously. Maybe you should have been more selective in that next move. Maybe you shoulda, woulda, coulda.

Take stock of what really happened. Learn from your mistakes—even if it was only staying past the first week. Resolve to be better than you’ve ever been.

Your next stop will be better, but you gotta remember—if you’re not confident in your abilities, in your worth, in the value you bring to the new team—you’ll hedge your bets, keep your head down, and probably blow it.

Leave the baggage at home. (It’s full of damaged goods, anyway.) Channel that energy in positive directions. Don’t back down (so easily). Stand your ground. Defend your positions. Prove your worth.

If you look around the office and everyone else is relentlessly crushing it all day every day—and you’re struggling to keep up—remember they saw themselves in you when they offered YOU a shot over the rest of the applicants.

You’re not a fraud. You went through hell to get there. Suit up. Own it.

If you think you’re not good enough—you won’t be.

You are.

Perception is reality.