This has been a huge frustration of mine and I know part of the answer: 9-5 jobs are easy. It’s easy to show up to a 40-hour workweek schedule, put together by someone else. Sure, many of us would ideally work for ourselves, but a lot of us don’t know where we would start, or even know if we had enough capital to begin.
My dream is for many of my peers to start working for themselves, because I believe that many of them have the intelligence, motivation, and resources to stop having to rely on a job that demands too much of them in return for too little. I’ve spent the better part of this year looking into what my peers are interested in and what they hope for as far as career fulfillment. Many of my friends are burdened by student debt yet stuck working as baristas as they struggle to find the free time to pursue the things they are actually interested in.
Was this simply our mistake? Did we follow a false hope that by pursuing our interests rather than what the things that would make us money? The answer is yes and no. Of course if we could go back in time, we may have positioned ourselves a little bit better and worked in a more focused manner to bring us into a more lucrative career. But pursuing money for the sake of money has always been a soul-deadening pursuit, and now many of the friends I speak to are soul-rich and cash-poor. All is not lost, however, since I see that people (customers) value work with soul, and if you are into something true and authentic and done in a smart way, you can easily turn the beginnings of a profitable side-hustle.
This isn’t a new problem and not everyone can just drop what they’re doing in order to pursue self-employment. However I see that some of my friends are figuring it out, and I see more and more that it is possible to sustain oneself on their skills without having to show up to a job for 40 hours a week doing a task that can be done by a robot.
If we truly are as smart as we believe we are, why don’t we put our money where our mouths are and put forth real steps towards using the flexible, dynamic tools available to us online and on our phones in order to free up our time and attribute real value to the intellectual capital that we have to offer? The biggest first step, and the most critical one, is to recognize that you are not alone, that there is a swell of people trying to do exactly what you are doing. If you harness the power of your community, you are already doing better than you were previously.
I am stuck on this idea, that using the collective smarts, spare change, and bits of free time of the people we know in real life and online, we can all uplift our neighbors into a new arena of flexible, livable employment that is rich with heart and value.